Posted September 23, 2014
“She gets the gaming culture; she’s part of it,” 17-year-old Zach Quint said about his video game programming teacher.
There’s something special about the ability to connect with the people who “get you” while doing the things you love that is immeasurable in education. While conventional schools work hard to cater to student needs, traditional schools cannot always provide the personalized instruction and culture that some students require. And this couldn’t be any more true for video game enthusiast Zach Quint.
“Regular school wasn’t working for him. He was miserable,” Quint’s mother, Laurel Quint, said. While acknowledging the struggles that every child faces at school, Mrs. Quint expressed the difficulty of watching her own son regularly come home unhappy. But a last minute idea changed everything.
At a family friend’s get-together, a Denver Online High School parent brought up her daughter’s positive experience with online education. As a result, Mrs. Quint and her son made the somewhat impulsive decision to switch to Denver Online, only days before the quarter began. “The day before school was about to start, I just made a completely random decision to do online. And it turned out great,” Quint said.
Quint struggled at his previous school, Denver School of the Arts, because of the distraction of other students. “Even though it was school and you were learning, it was a time sink,” Quint expressed about the wasted time he encountered there.
With the switch to online, this problem no longer plagues Quint’s education. “I can definitely say it’s better than [traditional] school, based on the idea that you can do what you want to do,” Quint said, referring to the ability for students to customize their schedules more easily. “When he’s engaged, he just goes and goes and goes…It allows him to spend more time on the things he likes,” Mrs. Quint said. And for the classes that are less interesting to the high schooler, Quint’s mother said, “He can get it done and zip through it.”
His favorite online class is math. “I like math because math is really hard for every single high schooler. Because I’m taking it online, it is so easy to finally understand math. There are so many resources to learn math,” he said. For a digital native, the online atmosphere has been an easy adjustment for Quint. “It’s just like sitting in a classroom looking at a blackboard,” he said about the live online class sessions.
Capitalizing on the self-paced coursework design that Denver Online provides, Quint efficiently works through his assignments in order to have more time pursuing his passion: video gaming. His ultimate goal is to become a professional video gamer or video game programmer. Denver Online High School’s partnership with the Career Education Center (CEC) Middle College of Denver enables Quint the opportunity to practice his skills in this field. At the same time, he is also earning college credit and will graduate high school with a year of college under his belt.
While the benefits of online high school have been great for Quint, the impact it has made on his mother seems to be beyond measure. “Literally in the first two weeks, I could see how he changed. I saw my kid again,” she said, “I’m really proud.”