Brenna Cohen, a rising 11th grader at Georgia Cyber Academy (GCA), a K12 Inc. powered online public charter school, is pursuing her passion for the ocean and science despite suffering from debilitating migraines.

Since she was born, Cohen, who is now 15 years old, has struggled with severe migraines that have affected her health and dictated her academics. Seven years ago, after missing more than 30 days of third grade, Cohen’s parents decided that a traditional education wasn’t the best fit for their daughter and enrolled her at Georgia Cyber Academy.

“We were not making any progress in managing the headaches which dictated her life,” said Claire Cohen, Brenna’s mother. “Traditional school was impacting her academics and her health, so I quit my teaching job to school her from home through GCA.”

GCA is based entirely online, which means that with the power of an internet connection, Cohen has the flexibility to complete her school work wherever and whenever is best for her. This has led her to academic success and allowed her to chase her dreams of becoming a renewable energy engineer.

“The flexibility of GCA means that Brenna can basically work around her headaches,” said Claire, “even if that means school at 1 a.m. We enjoy the full flexibility of GCA to allow her to follow her passions: the ocean and science.”

In addition to excelling academically, Cohen’s flexible schedule has allowed her to make waves outside of her virtual classroom. She has chosen scuba diving as an extracurricular activity and is an Emergency First Responder certified in Open Water and Advanced Open Water with a specialty in Enriched Air. Brenna also has trips planned to China, Germany, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Arizona, and Missouri, to advance her knowledge in renewable energy and STEM subjects.

In a traditional brick-and-mortar school, this would mean that Cohen would have to miss important classes and lectures. However, with GCA, she is able to stay on top of all her homework because school travels with her.

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