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Natalie Bumgarner

Natalie is a middle school student at Georgia Connections Academy. She’s from Johns Creek, Georgia, and is training at the Royal Dance Academy in Suwanee, Georgia, to become a professional dancer. She trains in many different styles but focuses on ballet and contemporary. Between her daytime conservatory program and evening classes, Natalie spends about 30 hours each week in the studio, which is made possible by the flexibility of the Georgia Connections Academy program. Her dedication and passion for dance make her even more determined to get her schoolwork done between classes and events.

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.

Natalie travels around the country attending workshops, master classes, and competitions, even assisting at some of the events. The ability to bring school with her wherever she goes allows her to stay on top of her coursework at all times. All this hard work has earned Natalie the distinction of being named a RADIX Core Performer and a New York City Dance Alliance (NYCDA) Outstanding Dancer, which allows her to compete this summer for their national titles in addition to receiving several scholarships along the way. She has been the national title winner for Onstage New York, was awarded first place in Contemporary at Youth America Grand Prix in Atlanta, and has been a finalist for the part of Clara in Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular.

Despite all the hours spent training, Natalie does a great job managing her schoolwork. She works ahead when she has an event coming up, and has straight As to show for her effort. Language arts has always been her favorite subject, and gifted literature studies allows her to connect with other students and discuss what they’re reading.

While dance is Natalie’s long-term goal, having a rigorous curriculum is a priority for her family when it comes to her education. The challenging coursework keeps her motivated. She is a social butterfly, and the ability to connect virtually with her teachers and the other students helps keep her engaged. Georgia Connections Academy provides exactly what Natalie needs to be successful on the stage and in school.

Tanisha Floyd

Photo credit: Richard Calmes