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When Avery Dixon was born, he weighed just under two pounds. His prematurity led to various medical conditions throughout his life. One condition affects Avery’s vocal chords. Because his voice doesn’t sound like his peers, bullies singled him out. But once he found online school, Avery found strength he never knew he had.

When he first enrolled in Georgia Cyber Academy (GCA), Avery was sad, torn, and broken. He did not want to even participate in class. GCA’s clubs and support for bullying victims boosted his confidence. After Avery started participating in various anti-bullying activities, his grades started to improve. He also gained a new perspective on life both in and out of the classroom. “GCA has helped to come out of my shell,” Avery said. “By meeting people at social outings, I feel more comfortable when I participate in class.”

Online school also gives Avery the freedom to pursue his passion: music. As a professional saxophonist, he’s won many awards for his music, and even received a letter from President Barack Obama. With the support of his incredible teachers, Avery has even performed at GCA’s graduation ceremonies. However, Avery believes that his greatest accomplishment is his willingness to encourage others and give back to his community. Avery is currently starting an organization that will help families with premature babies. He also volunteers in homeless shelters where he reads to young children. “Giving back has taught me humility and the act of being selfless,” he said.

Thanks to his faith and perseverance, Avery has come out on the other side and is now an anti-bullying activist. His mission is to spread awareness to others who are suffering. He encourages students to get help if they are feeling depressed or hurt and to join a group of like-minded people with similar interests and goals. He says, “Being bullied is not your problem– it is a problem of the one who is doing the bullying. You should never feel embarrassed or ashamed.” Avery aspires to continue pursuing music after he graduates next year. He hopes to attend college and study music performance. He’s also interested in studying psychology because he wants to protect others from the pain he experienced throughout his childhood. Avery added, “Being bullied is not anything I would want anyone to go through, it is not OK, but it is not a problem that can’t be fixed.”

 

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