Serena Garcia has her eyes on a spot on the US Olympic diving team, and Texas Online Preparatory School (TOPS) is helping her get there.
The San Antonio native began taking diving lessons when she was 9 years old, and her passion for competitive diving just kept growing.
“After she qualified for AAU Nationals last year she got even more excited about diving,” said Jennifer Garcia, Serena’s mother. “She was determined to go to the next level: USA Diving.”
After winning Nationals in the spring, 11-year-old Serena realized that her top competitors were homeschooled, which gave them more time to train. Wanting the same, Serena asked her mother if she could complete her schooling from home.
“I decided to enroll her in TOPS because I like knowing she is in public school,” Jennifer said. “That way she is on track with the other kids her age.”
The flexibility of online schooling has been very beneficial for Serena and her demanding schedule, which includes training regularly in the evenings, additional trampoline workouts, and home and gym workouts throughout the week. With TOPS, Serena is able to make time for her studies while also adhering to her training needs and competitions.
“I like having a flexible schedule,” Serena said. “It gives me more time to exercise and practice.”
Jennifer enjoys the fact that TOPS allows for the customization of Serena’s schedule, making training and competing much simpler.
“Since Serena is in TOPS she is able to have more time for training,” Jennifer said. “When most kids are on the bus she is able to go to the gym. Then she is able to do some more of her workout when she is listening to her lessons. I like that we can change her schedule to allow her time to train and even bring her school with her during competition season.”
The organization of the courses and the support of her teachers are also aspects of Serena’s online education which her mother appreciates.
“I like all of her teachers,” Jennifer said. “They are all great at keeping order in the class connect sessions but also at keeping it interesting.”
Having the time she needs to train, compete, and focus her education, Serena is able to swim towards her Olympic-filled dreams.
“I want to compete internationally, dive in college, and go to the Olympics,” Serena said.