A boy and a girl work together on a laptop

Abigail Thelen

Abigail singing on stage

Abigail Thelen is high school student at Minnesota Connections Academy (MNCA). At MNCA, she is able to participate in many enjoyable activities without falling behind in her schoolwork, and learn with supportive and kind teachers. Abigail shares more about her experience at MNCA below.

“I love the flexibility, teachers, classmates, and opportunities at MNCA. When I tell people about how online school works, they’re always surprised that I get all the benefits of a bricks-and-mortar school while still getting flexibility with my schedule. I’ve had amazing teachers—I just can’t stop saying good things about them! They’re always willing to help me, and they all work hard to form a personal relationship with me, which is something not many other high school kids can say about their teachers. I love math and science, but the wonderful teachers at Connections Academy have opened me up to loving more subjects—I feel they all want me to LEARN, not to just get good grades.

My classmates are really awesome too! It’s cool to have friends from all over Minnesota. I like that we can still get together on field trips or call each other on online anytime. There are several MNCA field trips per month in every part of Minnesota. They’re a great way to hang out with my friends while doing something fun like rollerblading or exploring the science museum.

I’m also on Student Council at Connections, and it’s been so fun to observe this school from that perspective. I love my Student Council advisors, who are so kind and amazing. Outside of school, I volunteer at a retirement home with my dad to bring the elderly people to their churches. It’s a great time to give while getting to talk to my dad (yes, I’m a teenager and I still love my parents). I also run an after school Lego Robotics class at my old school, which is a ton of fun! I wouldn’t be able to do it if I went to a bricks-and-mortar high school because I’d have a ton of homework to do and wouldn’t get off in time. I’m also very passionate about singing and acting. I lead the worship for my youth group at church on Wednesdays, and on Sundays, I’m involved in a singing and acting group.

MNCA has given me the time to do many things after school, on the weekends, and during the day without being tired and worn out like any other high-schooler would be if they tried to participate in many activities while going to a traditional high school. If I ever miss a day of lessons, I don’t have to worry because I can always make it up, which is a huge benefit of Connections Academy.

I plan on doing a Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program later in high school, and then attending college to get my bachelor’s and master’s degree in math or teaching. Connections Academy has really helped by giving me flexibility while still teaching me the things I need to know. I don’t feel at all behind my friends who go to bricks-and-mortar school. If anything, I feel like I understand the concepts better because I’m always able to ask questions, make revisions, and have an overall growth mindset. I’m so grateful for Connections Academy—it helps me to learn, grow, and prepare for the future in such an amazing way!”

I love MNCA because the teachers are amazing, I’m able to have a flexible schedule to pursue my passions, and I can stay home during the day with my mom.
— Abigail