Polk County Student Heads to Miss Teen USA National Pageant

Senior Mikaela Bruer says Oregon Connections Academy helps her succeed on stage and in school


teen girl on farm with sash

Mill City, OR (July 26, 2016) —Whether she’s on the runway or the ranch 17-year old Mikaela Bruer from Dallas has learned many skills over the years which have helped her achieve a life-long goal: competing at the national Miss Teen USA pageant July 29th and 30th. Mikaela, the current Miss Oregon Teen USA, credits much of her success on and off stage to the fact that she attends Oregon Connections Academy (ORCA), the state’s leading online public school.

“Having a flexible schedule with Oregon Connections Academy has allowed me to pursue all my extracurricular activities”, explained Mikaela. “It gave me the time to really use my title to impact lives and make a difference in my community and also allowed me to grow my farm even more.” ORCA is a tuition-free virtual public charter school which served over 4,000 students in grades K-12 across the state in the last school year.

The 34th Annual Miss Teen USA pageant takes place at The Venetian in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mikaela is the reigning Miss Polk County Teen and was crowned Miss Oregon Teen USA 2016 last fall. Mikaela is thrilled to have the opportunity to compete at the national level. “Winning Miss Oregon Teen USA opens more doors than anyone could ever imagine!” said Mikaela. “I'm just excited to get to show everyone who I am and get to meet so many new faces!”

This is one amazing and versatile young lady. Some days she goes from modeling to mud boots. Mikaela is often busy raising and showing livestock including dairy cows, goats, and cattle in the 4-H and Future Farmers of American (FFA) programs. She is also a competitive archer, golfer, all-star cheerleader, and works part time at Dutch Brothers Coffee.

“It's so nice to be able to do school anywhere because I can be at a photo shoot, work, or even a different country and not fall behind or miss anything,” noted Mikaela. “It gives you an individualized school program and so much time to do the things you'd like to accomplish.”

Mikaela volunteers for The Arc of Polk County helping individuals with developmental disabilities. She has also traveled to 12 different countries and many of her trips were for relief efforts through a special student ambassador program. She hopes to reach 20 countries by the time she’s 25. “I love helping people and visiting places where they have nothing, yet have so much emotionally and spiritually to offer I can honestly say my travels have changed my life and outlook on the world,” added Mikaela.

At the Miss Oregon Teen USA competition, it was no surprise to many that Mikaela also won the Academic Achievement Award. She maintains a grade point average over 4.0 because she takes several Advanced Placement courses. “It has allowed her to grow so much in her time at ORCA,” said Denise Bruer, Mikaela’s mother and Learning Coach. “She has higher level classes than she would be able to take at a local brick and mortar public school so she has been able to set higher collegiate goals.”

Going into her senior year this fall, Mikaela is making plans to head off to Cornell University after high school to study agriculture management and someday become a large animal veterinarian. “I grew up on a farm and always had a love for animals,” said Mikaela. “After starting to raise dairy cows and market steers a few years back I knew that was where my heart lied.”

Enrollment is now underway for the 2016-2017 school year. For additional information about the school, visit www.OregonConnectionsAcademy.com or call (800) 382-6010.

About Oregon Connections Academy
Oregon Connections Academy (ORCA) is a tuition-free, high-quality, highly accountable statewide online charter school that serves students in grades K–12. The school is authorized by the Santiam Canyon School District. All Oregon Connections Academy students participate in the award-winning national Connections Academy program that combines high-quality resources from leading publishers with cutting-edge yet easy-to-use technology and hands-on materials. Oregon Connections Academy provides students with the flexibility to learn from anywhere there is an Internet connection and with an innovative online school curriculum that meets rigorous state education standards. The combination of Oregon-certified teachers, a proven curriculum, unique electives, technology tools, and community experiences creates a supportive and successful online learning opportunity for families and children who want an individualized approach to education. Oregon Connections Academy is accredited by the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC), an accrediting division of AdvancED. For more information, call 800-382-6010, or visit http://www.OregonConnectionsAcademy.com.