Pennsylvania’s highest-performing cyber school—21st Century Cyber Charter School—is already considered one of the best cyber schools in PA because of its impressive academic scores and undeniable achievements. But now 21CCCS is making waves in the world of athletics by producing some amazing athletes to go along with its many scholars.
There are many who believe that attending a cyber school means children miss out on social activities such as sports. But that couldn’t be any further from the truth.
Students who are enrolled at 21CCCS are given ample opportunities to socialize and grow with other students who share their same interests. There’s a wide array of clubs and extracurricular activities offered to 21CCCS students. These clubs are run by 21CCCS teachers and help cyber student branch out and explore new things. And when it comes to athletics, 21CCCS students are encouraged to participate in and try out for sports and activities that are provided by their home school district as long as they are held after school hours and do not require a prerequisite course that must be taken at the district during the school day.
In fact, many 21CCCS graduates have gone on to have some incredible athletic careers, including two recently who broke through big time in the world of swimming.
In July 2016, 21CCCS graduate Cierra Runge qualified for the women’s U.S. Olympic Swim Team and would compete later that summer in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
At the time, Runge was a redshirt sophomore for the University of Wisconsin swimming team and she had finished fifth overall in the 200-meter freestyle final in the same week that she received the great news of her Olympic qualification. Her performance in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Omaha, Neb., helped cement her spot in Rio as an alternate for Team USA’s 800-meter freestyle relay team.
“To finally make it is unbelievable,” Runge told Wisconsin’s athletic website shortly after receiving the news. “I don’t know whether I should laugh or cry. It’s been a dream of mine since I was 4 years old. It’s a dream come true. I’m so happy.”
Later that year, 21CCCS had another female swimmer whose accomplishments in the pool helped her also earn an athletic scholarship from a Big Ten school.
Sierra Schmidt was a senior at 21CCCS at the time but she also happened to be a U.S. National Junior swim team member who was highly sought after by college swimming programs. When it came down to making a final decision in October 2016, Schmidt decided to verbally commit to the University of Michigan.
With the announcement, Schmidt brought her 800-meter freestyle gold medals from the Pan American Games and FINA Junior World Championships with her to Ann Arbor to join a Michigan women’s swim team that had won the Big Ten Championship the year prior.
“I am so grateful to have this opportunity and I want to thank everyone that helped me along the way to make this decision,” Schmidt told Swimming World Magazine after making her announcement. “I am incredibly excited about this next step in my life as well as working with world class coaches, a supportive and fun team, and learning at a superb academic university. Also looking forward to dancing in Ann Arbor for four years! GO BLUE!”
So as you can see, 21CCCS is not only a great institution for academics, it also helps develop the athletic potential of its students.