Mapleton Online graduate found right environment for him in high school

Judah P. is among the first graduates from Mapleton Online since becoming an official K-12 school last May. He started there not long after the pandemic began, in March 2020, as he was finishing his freshman year at York International School.

Though the District’s schools were able to stay open the entire time, the administration created Mapleton Online as an alternative program for families still concerned about their children’s safety. Judah joined the program and originally intended to return to in-person learning at York at some point, but, for a variety of reasons, decided he was more comfortable finishing his high school career at Mapleton Online.  

“Online learning isn’t for everyone. You have to have discipline and create an environment where you can pay attention and keep up,” he said. “But some people prefer it. Maybe they are more shy, like to stay close to their families or want to do school at their own pace and they know how to use their time effectively.” 

That isn’t to say he spent all his time behind a screen. He still nurtured his passion for music, playing violin with the Mapleton Orchestra every morning and the Honors Orchestra twice a week after school the entire time.  

He said the online system worked for him, though. For instance, whenever he needed extra help with assignments, he could quickly set up meetings with his teachers with a click of a mouse to receive one-on-one attention, allowing him to thrive. 

“Judah is a shining star at Mapleton Online. He is a student that takes his education seriously and works hard to perform,” said Mapleton Online School Director Amber von der Hofen. “Whichever path he chooses after high school, we know that he will utilize his passion, perseverance, and dedication to be successful in all endeavors.” 

Judah will attend Front Range Community College this fall to earn an Associate of Science degree. Once that is complete, he would like to enroll at the University of Colorado Denver to earn a bachelor's degree in either architecture or graphic design, with the dream of becoming an architect or landscape architect someday.  

“I’d like to be able to design buildings or maybe the surrounding parks. Just helping sketch out the big picture, even the trees and streets, it all interests me,” he said. 

That interest was sparked last year when he began tinkering with Photoshop. He said he polished his skills during class breaks and after school, when he would have otherwise been leaving class and traveling home, if he were in a brick-and-mortar school. His design projects have been modest in size for now, but with his ability to focus and prioritize, honed from years of learning online, he could be designing skyscrapers before you know it.