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An Exemplary Mother

27J Online Academy senior Ashley Silvaggi shares her experience as a single working mother who successfully continues her high school and college education. 

When Ashley Silvaggi found out she was pregnant before her senior year of high school at Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch, Co, she was determined to continue with her education.Ashley holding her son Grayson

However, she knew this would be hard to accomplish at Valor Christian since she would have to complete her learning in person and have set schedules that did not offer her much flexibility. So, she started looking for other options. 

Ashley wanted an academic environment that would provide the flexibility and support to help her achieve her educational goals while going through the major life event of giving birth and becoming a mother. She found this learning environment at the 27J Online Academy. 

The 27J Online Academy opened in the Fall of 2021 and currently serves around 447 students. The Online Academy staff strives to create an engaging and vibrant learning community that aims to meet the needs of every student. 

Shortly after starting at the Online Academy in August 2021, with only 27 weeks of pregnancy, Ashley had her son Grayson on September 29, 2021.

“I was scared, not only because I knew he was born too early, but because I was terrified for what would be waiting for me after his birth,” said Ashley. “I was going to become a single working mom, and I questioned whether I would be able to meet the high-medical needs of a premature baby while going to school and working full-time.” 

Staff at the Online Academy, specifically school counselor RocAnn Smith, helped ease Ashley’s fears. They worked with her to create a learning plan for her situation and set realistic academic expectations. 

A typical school day at the Online Academy doesn’t resemble much of a school day for Ashley. She wakes up and gets herself and Grayson ready for the day in the mornings. After dropping off Grayson at daycare, Ashley heads to work at Dick’s Sporting Goods, where she is a store manager. She uses her meal and break times to email her teachers and work on schoolwork at work. After work, Ashley picks up Grayson, goes home to have dinner, and puts him to bed. Once he is in bed, she uses the remainder of her day to complete more school work and clean up the house. 

As busy as Ashley’s “typical” week sounds, this isn’t all of it. She is working towards her Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) license and has already received multiple offers from hospitals to work as a nursing assistant in their intensive care units. After receiving her CNA license, Ashley plans to accept one of these offers and work as a CNA. Grayson

“Being a teen mom in school is easily the hardest thing I have ever done, but I would not do anything to change it,” said Ashley. 

“Grayson is my inspiration for everything. He will always worship the ground I walk on, so I want to be able to show him that life may be hard, but those who are successful push through and continue to get back up in the face of adversity.”

Pushing through and working hard is what Ashley is doing in both her jobs and as a high school student. All of the courses she is currently taking while in high school are college courses that will count towards her high school diploma AND college degree.

After high school, Ashley will be attending Regis University for nursing. She has already been awarded a $20,000 scholarship per semester from Regis due to her outstanding grade point average and ACT scores. 

Ashley is grateful to have come across the 27J Online Academy when she needed it the most. “Mrs. Smith has changed my life for the better. I was at an all-time low when we met. She has always ensured that I succeed and reach my goals by first meeting my academic and personal needs.” 

The flexibility and learning environment the 27J Online Academy provides Ashley Silvaggi to support her success as a single working mother is just one more #ReasontoBelieve. #IBelievein27JSchools