Madison Kenney is a high school student at Georgia Connections Academy (GACA). Madison uses the flexible scheduling of virtual school to volunteer in her community and to share her love of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) with other girls. Learn more about her story below:
Madison first joined Georgia Connections Academy in 2015, in search of added flexibility to balance her education and expanding extracurricular schedule, including her robotics team and volunteer work.
“My mother and I felt an online school would be a better way for me to receive a high-quality education and still have time to participate in and teach robotics,” says Madison.
I am so thankful for Georgia Connections Academy for allowing me the flexibility to achieve my dreams. It is the perfect fit for me.
Madison has thrived with the new education setting and has become a young trailblazer for her local community and the STEM field. Since STEM careers are traditionally male-dominated, Madison works constantly to create a safe and encouraging environment for girls to become confident and to pursue STEM interests. She coaches four all-girls underwater robotics teams at her local YMCA, meeting with the groups every week to teach them everything from soldering to game strategy for upcoming competitions.
Madison also takes advantage of dual enrollment opportunities through Georgia Connections Academy and attends classes at Gwinnett Technical College. Her favorite courses include chemistry and AP Computer Science. She says, “I really have to thank Mr. Harrelson, my school counselor, for always being there to guide me in my dual enrollment process and helping me win awards using his recommendation letters.”
Her mother, Bisa, credits the virtual school for giving her daughter the flexibility to manage the multiple items on her plate. Madison’s mom says, “We love Georgia Connections Academy for the flexibility they offer. Madison has been very active with robotics for the past seven years, and we love that we can do assignments around her schedule of coaching teams, volunteering, and leading her own team as team captain.”
Madison has earned several awards for STEM excellence and volunteerism, including the Prudential Spirit of Community Award, the President’s Volunteer Service Award, the NCWIT Georgia Affiliate Aspirations in Computing Award, and Youth Service America Everyday Hero, and she was a finalist for the Girl Scout Council Young Women of Distinction Award.
Madison is always grateful to receive awards and accolades and is hopeful that her hard work can help the students she coaches reach the same success. Currently, she is coaching FIRST Lego League, Seaperch and teaching coding using Miro Bits at the Andrew and Walter Young Family YMCA, all as a full time dual enrolled student at Kennesaw State University. When she graduates high school, Madison hopes to pursue a career as a mechatronics engineer.