Famous baseball pitcher Nolan Ryan once said, “One of the beautiful things about baseball is that every once in a while you come into a situation where you want to, and where you have to, reach down and prove something.”
For Denver Online High School senior Keisha Reim, this seems to be a theme she has lived by both on and off the field.
The eighteen-year-old has played softball competitively for six years. But it wasn’t without some trials along the way. “I’ve had a total of four surgeries,” she said. The pitcher noted surgeries to repair an ankle tendon tear, a SLAP tear on a previously sprained shoulder, and a torn meniscus and ACL. “I’d just be walking and boom, I’d hit the floor. It would just give out,” she said about her knee.
The athlete also described another setback she has had to fight through: Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. The syndrome caused a bundle of nerves underneath her clavicle to be pinched, causing shooting pains to run up her arm. When it flared up, she said, “I couldn’t even hold a pen. It would put me in tears.” For a softball player, these injuries caused some major obstacles. But with a slight change to her throwing form, the pitcher learned how to compensate for the injuries.
Just as she has learned to keep focus on the baseball field amidst disruptive injuries, Reim has also learned how to block all distraction and channel her concentration during distressing moments in the medical field. Starting pre-requisites for nursing at fifteen, the graduating high school senior learned early on that working with trauma patients was something she was naturally skilled at. Noting an incident where an elderly woman had a severe head wound, she said, “I was really calm. I never freeze up. I know what I need to do and I get it done.”
Just as most of us would waver on a pitcher’s mound if the game was on the line, so too would we falter when someone’s actual life was in our hands. But for Reim, these moments are where she shines. “It’s kind of like an adrenaline rush. It’s one of the most calming times to be in a trauma situation,” she said.
Reim came to Denver Online High School in tenth grade from another online program. “The online school I’d been in since third grade didn’t offer college courses,” she said. However, through Denver Online’s concurrent enrollment program, Reim was able to enroll in college courses tuition-free, now graduating high school with forty college credits also under her belt from Morgan Community College.
“I’ve always felt like I was a college student first,” she said, capitalizing on the ability to fit online high school courses around concurrent enrollment college classes. Concurrent enrollment also set her up to be eligible for the College First program that she will take advantage of this next year. In this program, students can go to a Colorado community college tuition-free for an entire year. The opportunity to earn so many college courses tuition-free allowed Reim to get a major head-start towards her ultimate goal of becoming a trauma nurse and paramedic both, eventually going on to get her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
Even though her parents gave her the option to attend a brick-and-mortar high school, she elected to stay online, explaining, “I chose to stay homeschooled. There’s more flexibility and I get to go at my own pace.”
While she has been an online student for the majority of her school career, she noted the difference between her education versus her friends’ schooling at more traditional schools, saying, “The one thing I noticed is that I did a lot more things than other kids.” Reim was able to go on many trips with her dad who is a truck-driver, completing schoolwork on the road or from different states. She also was able to actively participate in Girl Scouts, once selling 2,400 boxes of cookies in a single year; participate in Denver Online High School’s National Honor Society where she worked with the Denver Rescue Mission, helped organize the school dance, and lead first-aid/CPR workshops for and gave gifts to the younger Girl Scouts; play high school sports at Akron; and become active in the Red Cross.
Whether it was fighting through injuries on the baseball field, juggling high school and college courses, or efficiently working with trauma patients, Reim has proven that she flourishes during significant moments. While not all students will go into career fields like Reim where actual lives are on the line, Denver Online High School hopes to help all students find their focus in their own fields. Because one of the most beautiful plays we can make as a school is inspiring students to find opportunities where they want to, and where they have to, reach down and prove something.