Ever since she can remember, Avery Ward has wanted to dance. At just three years old, her parents signed her up for her first dance classes.

Fast forward more than a decade, and the 11th grader has a long record of summers spent training with different ballet companies around the country, including Miami City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre in New York City, and Houston Ballet. When she’s not traveling, Avery trains year-round as a Conservatory/Academy Level 5 student at the Atlanta Ballet.

With such a blossoming career, Avery’s mother, Amy, knew the extensive training and travelling would interfere with her daughter’s schooling. Though fully supportive of her dancing career, she did not want Avery’s education to suffer in any way because of it.

Amy and Avery decided to search out other educational options, ones apart from the traditional brick-and-mortar schools. They discovered Georgia Connections Academy, a virtual public charter school providing online education to students in grades 6-12.

“We chose Georgia Connections Academy because of the flexibility and because it offered the same high-quality education as a traditional school,” Amy said. “The ability to let Avery take honors, AP, and dual enrollment courses while still having a flexible schedule has been such a blessing for us.”

Currently in her fourth year at the school, the rising 16-year-old dance star also raves about the flexibility she has thanks to her online education.

“I train with the Atlanta Ballet during the hours a normal high schooler would be in the classroom, so I must get all my work done when I get home at night and on any off-days,” Avery said. “I’m very dedicated to ballet and becoming a professional dancer, and virtual school allows me the time to focus on achieving that goal.”

As Avery continues to soar in her dancing career, she is looking forward to graduating from the virtual school, attending college, and hopefully one day signing with a professional ballet company.

“Stories like Avery’s are a centerpiece of what our school is all about,” said Georgia Connections Academy Executive Director, Heather Robinson. “Her success is the reason why everyone at our school works tirelessly to provide the best education and lifestyle opportunities for students and families across the state.”

Balancing Education with Extracurriculars
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