COLORADO SPRINGS — Meet Grace Davis. At 14 years old, she’s living life to the fullest.
She was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 5 and went through two and a half years of treatment.
“After she was done with her treatment, she had a rough time assimilating to a brick and mortar school,” said Jennifer Davis, Grace’s mom. “And so that’s when we started thinking, maybe there needed to be a change.”
The treatment put Grace constantly in and out of school, making her feel out of place.
“And I also have a lot of anxiety,” Grace said. “I have an anxiety disorder and a depression disorder. So, sometimes it’s really hard just functioning on a daily basis.”
Her school also had an annual pediatric cancer awareness fundraiser, which Grace says triggered her anxiety.
So they started looking at alternatives, and found Colorado Connections Academy last year.
“I wanted to make sure everything was accredited,” Jennifer said. “She’s very smart, so she can do AP classes and things like that.”
Online classes also allowed Grace to pursue her passions.
“One of my favorite things about dance has always been performing, because I love being on stage,” Grace said. “I love dancing for other people, because I feel like it’s a great way of spreading emotion and joy to other people.”
Grace has had lead roles in several productions, and is also a Zoo Crew mentor with Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s teen program.
“Since I also had such a highly medical past, my dream is to become an exotic animal veterinarian,” Grace said. “So, I want to specialize in things like reptiles, birds, small mammals, and all that stuff.”
Colorado Connections Academy follows the state requirement of 30 hours of class time a week: something Grace can customize to fit her busy lifestyle.
“Sometimes if she has something going on during the week at the dance studio or at the zoo, she can take off a Wednesday, and she does her school work on a Saturday,” Jennifer said.
So, instead of walking into a classroom for the first day of class, Grace just logged on and got to work.
“I think some people are afraid that they might not have their child get a quality education, and this is the same education,” Jennifer said. “She’s reading the same thing as her counterparts in brick and mortar school, and it’s just a perfect option for her. So kids that are struggling or just have unique schedules, this might be a great alternative for those families.”