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Noah Uptain has found a breath of fresh air at Alabama Virtual Academy (ALVA). Noah has genetic fibroxanthoma bone deterioration in his legs. Online school has given him the confidence he needs to perform well in school and enjoy his classes. 

Noah has had a total of eight surgeries, including femur replacements and knee and ankle surgery. He will undergo his ninth surgery in October for leg lengthening, where the doctors will put a clamp to stop growth in one leg so that the weaker leg can catch up. If that doesn’t work, the next step will be screws in his legs that will need to be tightened each day. 

“He attended brick-and-mortar school, but he was bullied for years because of the scarring on his legs,” said his mother, Mandi Uptain Baker. “The teachers knew of the bullies, but they said there was nothing they could do about it. Some children would kick him in his legs, call him hateful things. What made him happier was knowing he would never have to go back to that school.” 

This school year will be Noah’s second year with ALVA.   

“We decided to take a stronger role in our son’s education and felt online school was the place he needed to be,” Mandi said.  

Noah now has a relaxed setting where he can learn and thrive. What made him happier is knowing he no longer has to tolerate bullies. 

Some days he can’t sit for a long period of time, which didn’t work well in a classroom setting. Now he has the option to stand while his teachers are giving lessons. 

“We believe that it gives him a relaxed setting,” Mandi said. “Some material he does need more than just a class period to get it, and in ALVA they give more time to assure the student gets it. It is not rushed or new day, new lesson, you get it or not.” 

 Noah is excited to be back in the virtual classroom at ALVA to make new friends and learn more about his favorite subject, science. 

“He really enjoys the lessons he has to do on his own,” Mandi said. “I am so thankful for this education option for my son. I can’t imagine my child being anywhere else to learn. His teachers, they are so engaging with each student. They take the time to get to know each one. Every now and then I got a chance to speak with each of them and it was a true blessing.”

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