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Georgia Cyber Academy (GCA) swimmer Mary Gen Williams is already making waves in the competitive leagues of Georgia at age 13. Managing a full-time course load and maintaining her strength in the pool has certainly been a challenge, but enrolling in an online curriculum has made it possible.

Mary Gen has been with K12-powered schools since kindergarten, this fall marking her ninth year as an online student.

Mary Gen’s parents originally wanted to homeschool their children, but her mother, Rita, was unsure about being responsible for educating them. When they learned about K12, they chose to enroll Mary Gen so that she could receive the same education opportunities as her peers – and the end result revealed it was the perfect match.

“It is the best of both worlds,” Rita explained. “We still have the flexibility of homeschool life but my daughter’s education is guided by a certified teacher.”

With a more flexible schedule, Mary Gen has been able to pursue her dream career as a swimmer thanks to GCA. In order to hone her skills, every morning Mary Gen starts her day with an early practice from 6-8 a.m., followed by an afternoon session from 4-6 p.m. with the Savannah Swim Team.

As online student at GCA, Mary Gen is able to complete her academic studies in the mornings and practice in the afternoons, something that would not be possible in a traditional learning environment. “GCA offers students like me the ability to do all of their work in the morning, as opposed to traditional brick-and-mortar school, where students have homework in the evening,” she said.

Recently Mary Gen has had great success in her swimming career. This past summer she qualified for the Junior Nationals Team. She also took home first place the 50-meter breaststroke in her age group. Mary Gen also attended the prestigious USA Georgia State Swim Meet at Georgia Tech in Atlanta this summer. “It was the most competitive meet I’ve ever been to,” she said. “It was a lot of fun and really exciting.”

Enrolling in GCA has been a positive experience for both Mary Gen and her family. In fact, all three of her siblings are GCA students as well. According to Mary Gen, the use of interactive tools such as online quiz games like Kahoot and Quizizz have been an enjoyable yet effective way to pick up the material.

Overall, she certainly feels that the K12-powered program provides academic rigor. “The advanced learner’s classes have been challenging at times,” she said. “But, I’d always rather being challenged over be bored.”

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