Darron Nash went to Cody High School through his junior year but transferred to Connections Academy online school in part for the flexibility. 

“I just decided that I was either going to a different school or an online school, Nash said. “I chose online school because I can use my time basically how I want to.”

Nash was able to work multiple jobs and even support a business on the side during his last year in high school. 

Saturday the work paid off as he was one of two Cody students to receive diplomas at the school’s graduation ceremony at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. 

Cynthia Baumstarck, who has attended Connections Academy since the seventh grade, also received her diploma.

Baumstarck used to attend public school as well. She said Connections Academy differed from public school because the classes were more rigourous. 

The academy is online, which has it unique difficulties for students, such as they have to learn how to use the technology and how to deal with power outages. 

Baumstarck said power outages are online school students snow days. 

What Baumstarck won’t miss about school is finding motivation. 

“You gotta get up, you need to do your works because you don’t have a teacher there to tell you to do your work,” Baumstarck said. 

She had to juggle her modeling and pageant career with school. 

At first she struggled balancing all of her activities, but as time progressed Baumstarck was able to perfect her schedule so she could smoothly handle all she was involved in. 

Two days before the graduation ceremony Baumstarck was asked to give a speech during the event. 

She said she completed the speech the day before graduation and despite her worries she gave a clean speech. 

“I was also scared I was going to trip but I didn’t do that either,” Baumstarck said.  

She wanted her speech to leave her audience with the understanding that teenagers do not need to have it all figured out at the end of high school. 

“I just figured out what I wanted to do for college a month ago,” Baumstarck said. 

Next year she will major in psychology at Northwest College. 

Nash stayed busy as well.

In the morning he works as a breakfast attendant and at night a waiter. In between his jobs Nash spent time doing school work. 

“It was really nice because I had all the time I needed to do anything I wanted basically,” Nash said. “I don’t think there is a better alternative to high school than online school.”

Nash enjoyed the teachers at the academy, which is publicly funded and associated with Big Horn School District 1. He felt they wanted their students to succeed.

Currently Nash is saving up to purchase a van to travel. He did not plan to attend college until he joined Connections Academy. 

“I wasn’t really thinking about college before, but since I did online high school I definitely can consider online college,” he said.

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