Originally published in The Julesburg Advocate – April 15, 2021
For various reasons, some students choose not to attend the traditional brick-and-mortar school in their own neighborhood or communities. For Haley Lockhart, of Ovid, her choice was personal and at a time when her life was interrupted by family illness. Once she was enrolled and accepted, it was the perfect fit that not only she needed, but her family needed as well.
In the summer of 2020, Haley’s mother Trish Lockhart had been ill for more than a year. Her grandfather Shorty Kotch was suffering from cancer and her grandmother Mary Kotch would be diagnosed with degenerative bone disease. This was a lot for any strong-headed teenager to deal with the added responsibilities of school and school work.
Haley began researching online for alternatives to her education and found Destinations Career Academy of Colorado (CODCA), the online school partner of Julesburg High School. She enrolled early in the summer and was accepted. She soon was immersed in CODCA’s virtual boot camp. This was an opportunity for the teenage girl to find out if online schooling was a fit for her.
Soon afterward, Trish was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and was immediately scheduled for surgery. Haley refused to leave her mother in the hospital for strangers to care for her. In spite, of her mother’s wishes, Trish came home and Haley became her mother’s caretaker.
Intrigued with needles and blood, Haley has enrolled in classes that will assist her in reaching her goal of being a lab technician and phlebotomist.
CODCA offers career learning pathways and offers classes in Agriculture, Business, Health and Human Services, Information Technology and Manufacturing, and the trades. In addition to core courses, students take career-focused electives to explore their options and find their passion — all while earning their high school diploma.
CODCA is the first online school in the State of Colorado to receive the top level of approval from the State Board of Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE) for business, marketing, and health sciences.
While some students choose DODCA because of health or family issues, some students are involved with professional sports or needing to travel more than traditional schools allow. Unlike private schools, CODCA is a fully online public school (tuition-free) that serves students across the state.
Haley has excelled in her studies during the time she has been enrolled in Destinations Career Academy. Her classes allow students to work at their own pace or in Haley’s case ahead of her class. She often signs into class only to be dismissed due to her being so far ahead and that her grade average is a B or above. Not only does she keep up with school work, assists with her mother and grandparents, she also works alongside her mother at Liittjohann Kauffman-Peterson CPA. On weekends she off to visit with friends she has made rodeoing and dancing.
Haley will have completed all her high school core classes but one by the end of this school year. She will take one last math class during her senior year in addition to a full load of college courses. Her course studies includes EKG, pharmacy technician, medical assistant, medical terminology, and Anatomy and Physiology. She is expecting to complete her CNA course by early summer.
“For being 17, she has had a lot dumped on her,” said her mother. I’m sure that at 17, I wouldn’t been as motivated as her.”
Haley laughed, “Part of me want to go into business.”
Trish was quick to respond “She’ll never want to be an accountant.”
Through all the trials, the mother and daughter share that they have cried together and laughed together.
To learn more about Destinations Career Academy of Colorado, visit https://codca.k12.com