Colorado Connections Academy Celebrates Its Largest Graduating Class

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More than 345 online public school graduates set to receive diplomas virtually as the school’s community comes together to honor the Class of 2020

Star person in circle with orange and yellow background. Colorado Connections Academy is to the right.

Colorado Connections Academy celebrates 2020 graduates

"We have always been proud of our school’s sense of community and it’s more important than ever that we come together during these surreal times. We may not be able to sit side-by-side in caps and gowns this year, however, we can still try to get as close as we can to the real thing,"

Social distancing may keep the friends and family of the Class of 2020 physically apart, but it will not stop the virtual celebration of more than 345 seniors from Colorado Connections Academy, a network of full-time, tuition-free statewide online public schools. On Thursday, May 28 at 11 a.m., Colorado Connections Academy will celebrate and honor its seniors with a virtual graduation ceremony using its LiveLesson® online classroom—the same technology and platform the seniors used to connect with their teachers and classmates throughout their tenure at online school.

“We have always been proud of our school’s sense of community and it’s more important than ever that we come together during these surreal times. We may not be able to sit side-by-side in caps and gowns this year, however, we can still try to get as close as we can to the real thing,” said Colorado Connections Academy’s school leader, Chaille Hymes. “I am continually inspired by the resilience this year’s graduating class has shown throughout our current situation. I’m looking forward to seeing those smiling faces online. I know they have bright futures ahead and can face all obstacles they may encounter,” she added.

This year’s graduating class is the largest to date and has earned more than $1.2M in scholarship funds. Among the Class of 2020 graduates are:

Ella Drury (Centennial, Colo.) – Ella Drury has been swimming since she was 3 years old and is in love with the sport. She signed with the University of Hawaii swim team and is receiving scholarships for both athletics and academics. Ella is interested in studying with their medical program. 

Jennifer Payne (Denver, Colo.) – Since Jennifer was 3 years old, ballet has been her priority and when she turned 11, she started a strict training schedule and decided to build a career out of it. She has attended summer intensives over the years that allowed her to train with several top ballet schools across the world - this includes New York City, Barcelona, and Seattle. Jennifer has signed to perform ballet with the Los Angeles Ballet Company. 

Jennifer Stuckenschneider (Grand Junction, Colo.) – Jennifer started an event called Walk for Water in 2013 to raise money and awareness about the water crisis in the world. Over the years, she provided clean water storage for 32 homes in Honduras and helped build latrines for 50 families in Uganda. She plans to take a gap year after graduation and will continue hosting the Walk for Water event.

Katherine Maldonado (Parker, Colo.) – Katherine will be attending the University of Northern Colorado this fall to fulfill her dream of becoming a teacher. Katherine is passionate about helping kids in the community. She volunteers at her local dance studio helping little ones learn recital dance. She has helped with Special Olympics events throughout the years. Katherine made the switch to become an online student because it was easier for her to control her Type 1 diabetes. She also found that she had more flexibility and time for volunteering and dance. 

Colorado Connections Academy schools offer an individualized approach to learning, which combine state-certified teachers, an award-winning curriculum, technology tools and socialization opportunities. Colorado Connections Academy students meet regularly in online LiveLesson® classroom sessions and have opportunities to share ideas, compare experiences, and have fun learning with their peers. They also have access to a variety of online school programs, including engaging electives, Career Technical Education courses, honors classes and Advanced Placement® (AP) course options. Colorado Connections Academy schools offer many ways for students to meet and learn together, through field trips, online school clubs, talent networks, and special events. With social distancing, all social events were moved virtually, including this year’s prom where students played games, danced, and announced a prom king and queen.

Colorado Connections Academy @ Mapleton, in its 18th year providing students a flexible online learning option, serves more than 2,050 students in grades K-12 online across the state. Colorado Connections Academy @ Durango, authorized by the Durango School District 9-R, opened in the 2016-17 school year for students statewide and currently serves approximately 670 students in grades K-12. Both schools are supported by Connections Academy and are open to students statewide regardless of where they live in Colorado. Since both are public schools, there are no tuition costs or fees to attend.

Enrollment for the 2020-21 school year is currently open for Colorado Connections Academy schools. Interested families can learn more about the virtual school through a variety of information sessions in the coming months.

A complete list of events is available at or by calling (800) 382-6010.

About Colorado Connections Academy

Colorado Connections Academy schools are tuition-free, high-quality, highly accountable public online schools serving students in grades K-12 statewide. Colorado Connections Academy @ Mapleton opened in 2002 and is a contract school with Mapleton Public Schools. Colorado Connections Academy @ Durango, authorized by the Durango Public School District 9-R, opened in the 2016-17 school year. Colorado Connections Academy schools provide students with a safe, supportive learning environment and the flexibility to learn from anywhere there is an Internet connection. The combination of Colorado-certified teachers, an award-winning curriculum, personalized instruction, technology tools, and socialization experiences offers families and children an individualized approach to education.

For more information, call 800-382-6010 or visit

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Samantha Bryant
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