Student athlete Danya Manyak started going to Colorado Connections Academy (ColoCA) as a high school freshman to gain the flexibility to pursue competitive skiing while taking advanced courses on a schedule that meets his needs.
Danya previously attended his local public school and when he needed more flexibility for skiing, his family homeschooled him. But the family couldn’t offer the rigorous courses and instruction he needed and were happy to find a great school fit in ColoCA.
“After eighth grade, my parents and I knew that I couldn’t attend the local high school and do the ski training that I wanted to do,” said Danya. “But my parents also knew that we couldn’t homeschool for high school. So my dad looked up the online public school options for Colorado and found Connections Academy. I was definitely a part of the decision from the beginning. I knew that I wanted to be able to train for skiing every day during the winter and that I couldn’t do that if I attended the local high school.”
Danya can work at his own pace each day before skiing starts and get a lot of work done. There’s a period at the end of spring term when he can power through the work, which has been a very efficient way for him to do schooling. He doesn’t have to sit in a classroom and then go off and do homework, etc.
The course selection is excellent, with honors courses in math, English, and science. And the courses have been good for him and his interests. Danya wants to be an author and took a class right away during his first term that focused on writing development.
He is an exceptional student and independent skier in slopestyle skiing focused on big jumps and rail features. He started skiing when he was 3 years old and won gold and silver in slopestyle skiing at USASA Nationals the last two years. “I couldn’t have gone that far in the sport without the flexibility that Connections Academy has allowed me,” said Danya. “This season I will be competing in the North American Cup events across the U.S. and Canada.”
Online school has not impacted Danya’s social relationships. “Most of my friends are skiers, so I get to see all of my friends all winter when I am training and competing. I also have good friends at the local CrossFit gym. They are actually all ages and all kinds of people, but we work out together. I see them every morning, and they are interested in my skiing and schooling. I haven’t made a lot of friends through Connections Academy. Right now, I am really focused on my studies and my skiing. So I think that for now it makes sense that most of my friends are other teens who are passionate about freeskiing.”
In the future, Danya will continue to train and compete at the highest level he can achieve. “I hope to compete well at the Revolution Tour and North American Cup level over the next couple of years. I would also want to hit the podium again at USASA Nationals in slopestyle. And I want to be able to go to the college of my choice. My classes at Connections Academy have prepared me to do well on the SAT and to show universities that I want to challenge myself with honors and Advanced Placement® classes. In the future, I would like to be a writer. Classes like AP Language and Composition have helped me be a better writer.
“There are a few private colleges that are in great locations for freeskiing and that have top freeski teams. So I would like to have the academic record and skiing success that would make me a great candidate for academic merit and athletic scholarships at those colleges.”
My classes at Connections Academy have prepared me to do well on the SAT and to show universities that I want to challenge myself with honors and AP classes. In the future, I would like to be a writer. Classes like AP Language and Composition have helped me be a better writer.