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Meet Discovery Academy’s grads

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PHOTO BY MIRA BRODY

By Gabrielle Gasser EBS STAFF

BIG SKY – On Feb. 16, five graduates of the Big Sky Discovery Academy skied down Andesite Mountain and received their diplomas a semester early. From competitive ski racing to building a home, EBS spoke with each student about their plans for the future and what Discovery has taught them. Read EBS’s coverage of the event.

Maize Schreiner

Explore Big Sky: What is your favorite memory from your time at Discovery Academy?

Mazie Schreiner: “My favorite memory of the Discovery Academy would be the first time my Mom and I sat down with the head of school, Nettie, to discuss making our dream of a flexible school become a reality for my competitive ski racing. I remember asking my Mom and Nettie what exactly this program was going to look like, and the answer from both of them was that we get to figure it out together. A group of us came together not knowing exactly what this Academy was going to look like, and it was the best thing we could have done. The Big Sky Discovery Academy High School is now one of the best alternatives for students looking for another learning style that is specific for each individual.”

EBS: What are your plans for the future?

MS: “I am planning on attending college in the fall to study Exercise Science and Kinesiology, along with getting my real estate license at the end of February.” 

EBS: How did Discovery allow you to pursue your personal interests? 

MS: “The Discovery Academy allowed me to have the flexibility I needed to be successful in all my extracurriculars and not sacrifice a solid education. For my first year at Discovery, I was able to design my own school schedule to allow me to have the flexibility to ski train 6 days a week, not have schoolwork over a race weekend, maintain good grades, and enjoy school. After having to quit ski racing, I was able to get the opportunity to become the first Lone Peak Performance Intern in Physical Therapy. Now my Senior year, I was able to work at an advanced pace and graduate in December.”

EBS: What extracurricular activities did you participate in?

MS: “Throughout my senior year, I participated in alpine ski racing, an internship at Lone Peak Performance, recreational skiing, and being able to work as a ski instructor my junior and senior year.”

Nehalem Manka

EBS: What is your favorite memory from your time at Discovery Academy?

Nehalem Manka: “Our beginning of the year hikes.”

EBS: What are your plans for the future?

NM: “I have applied to 10 colleges and am waiting to hear back. I plan to major in English.”

EBS: How did Discovery allow you to pursue your personal interests? 

NM: “At Discovery I was allowed to essentially create the schedule I needed. I was not penalized for missing school for whatever I needed to do, and I was able to accelerate in my classes and graduate early, as was the entirety of the senior class.”

EBS: What extracurricular activities did you participate in?

NM: “Freeride and soccer.”

Caleb Unger

EBS: What is your favorite memory from your time at Discovery Academy?

Caleb Unger: “I don’t think I can narrow it down to one exact memory because there are too many good ones. I think some of my favorite memories were made during summer math classes with Grace. We would sit outside and work on math in the shade of the umbrellas. We often found ourselves working through math problems, but we also just had the ability to work, talk, and be ourselves during the summer. It provided a perfect balance of school and catch-up that I really enjoyed.”

EBS: What are your plans for the future?

CU: “My plan is to continue skiing and traveling to races for the rest of this year. Then next year I plan to take a post-grad year and continue focusing on skiing and trying to make teams.” 

EBS: How did Discovery allow you to pursue your personal interests? 

CB: “Discovery provided me with the ability to pursue skiing by creating a flexible schedule where I could work to finish classes early, along with being flexible for when I was gone for skiing. Discovery also helped me with working ahead so that I was able to graduate early and focus on my future endeavors in skiing.”

EBS: What extracurricular activities did you participate in?

CB: “Skiing was the main extracurricular that I participated in during my time at Discovery Academy.”

Bo Wikan

EBS: What is your favorite memory from your time at Discovery Academy?

Bo Wikan: “My favorite memory at Discovery was all the powder days I got to partake in because I was at a flexible school that allowed me to get my work done so I was able to do this.”

EBS: What are your plans for the future?

BW: “My plans for the future at this point are to continue working throughout the summer in construction and attend trade school for construction somewhere in Montana either this fall or next year.”

EBS: How did Discovery allow you to pursue your personal interests? 

BW: “Being at Discovery allowed me to work, participate in hobbies I enjoy and still maintain good grades and enjoy school.”

EBS: What extracurricular activities did you participate in?

BW: “I am a skier and soccer player. I worked on some construction projects at the school to help upgrade and improve things, along with building my family house.”

Ben Quackenbush

EBS: What is your favorite memory from your time at Discovery Academy?

Ben Quackenbush: “My favorite memory from my time at Discovery Academy is from before the high school was established. There used to be only four students, and we would sit outside in what is now the playground of the school, and work through our summer math courses with our math tutor, Grace. I have never been one to enjoy math, but it was always fun to learn in such a small group of close friends. As a bonus, all of those years of summer math eventually allowed me to graduate early.”

EBS: What are your plans for the future?

BQ: “My plan after high school is to attend college at Northern Arizona University, where I’ll be studying history.”

EBS: How did Discovery allow you to pursue your personal interests? 

BQ: “At Discovery, I had the opportunity to create a more flexible, personalized school schedule that gave me more time to pursue my interests outside of class. With that extra time I was able to have several jobs, volunteer as a ski instructor, and enjoy my hobbies more regularly.”

EBS: What extracurricular activities did you participate in?

BQ: “Throughout high school I was a member of a kayaking team, worked part-time jobs at Ace Hardware and Big Sky Resort, and volunteered as a ski instructor for younger students at Discovery.”

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