Student Spotlight – Mahayla Palachuk

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Many students turn to online learning in search of a new dynamic after spending years in a brick-and-mortar environment. But for ASU Prep Digital freshman Mahayla Palachuk, online learning is all she’s ever known.

“I’ve been doing online learning since kindergarten,” Palahchuk said. “I was with the same school up until the beginning of my freshman year, but after they made a lot of changes and took away the flexibility from the program, my mom and I went searching for a new online school.”

Luckily, Palachuk didn’t have to search for long before discovering the answer to her problem — ASU Prep Digital.

“My oldest friend actually attends ASU Prep Digital,” Palachuk said. “After her dad told my dad about all of the benefits, I reached out to her and she had nothing but good things to say.” 

The glowing review from her friend coupled with an informative phone call with Kathleen Bacon, one of the admissions advisors, solidified Malachuk’s decision to join the community of learners at ASU Prep Digital.

“The two main deciding factors for choosing ASU Prep Digital were the flexibility and the college courses,” Palachuk said. “Flexibility is a very big thing for me and my family, and the ability to take college courses will allow me to hopefully be able to do the required courses I would have taken while in college.”

Being able to work at her own pace and plan for her future has made it even easier for Palachuk to pursue her passions while earning her high school diploma. 

“I have the time to work on and write my books,” Palachuk said. “I have my first novel, The Rise of The Crimson Archer, in editing, and I have another book series that I’m currently developing.”

And because being part of a community is important to her, Palachuk also finds time to get involved with clubs at ASU Prep Digital.

“I am a blogger for the ASU Prep Digital Student Blog and the ASU Prep Digital Book Club vice president,” Palachuk said. “I have many different projects I am working on and researching and I wouldn’t have it any other way!”

While Palachuk has a passion for writing, her other interests include vlogging, reading, and weather!

“When I was six years old, I watched Twister for the first time with my mom,” Palachuk said. “Over the years, my love and interest for weather, severe storms, and natural disasters has grown. It eventually led to me deciding at 13 that I wanted to go to college and major in meteorology!”

Palachuk even plans on starting college classes next year to get ahead and save herself time when she gets to college.

“I may try to knock out required courses like math so when I do go to college, I can focus more on my major classes,” Palachuk said. 

Palachuk is a force to be reckoned with and wise beyond her years. As an advocate for online learning, she offers advice to those who are considering making the switch.

“If you are someone who needs the flexibility in their schedule or wants to be able to work at their own pace, online learning would be perfect for you,” Palachuk said. “It’s a lot of hard work, but in the end it’s extremely rewarding.”

And for those who want to join ASU Prep Digital, Palachuk is certain you’ll be pleased with how many benefits there are to being a Sun Devil.

“Everything is completely opposite of how my old school was before I decided to leave,” Palachuk said. “The schooling is flexible, the teachers are present and helpful, and it’s so much easier to catch up if you fall behind. I know I made the right choice to enroll at ASU Prep Digital!”

Interested in learning more about our students? Check out these spotlights:

Oliva Bolles

Hannah Stewart

Margaret Koukos


What is Socialization Like in an Online High School?

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The myths of socialization in online learning have long been debunked, but the question still remains: what does socialization in an online high school actually look like?

For ASU Prep Digital senior Hannah Stewart, it looks like joining clubs that align with her interest, taking on leadership roles, and becoming a role model for other students in the community.

Coming from a traditional school background, the transition to online learning actually allowed Stewart to explore different ways of socializing and set her own boundaries.

I’m an ambivert, so while I like being around people, school could be emotionally draining for me on the days I just wasn’t feeling the whole ‘being social’ thing,” Stewart said. “As an online student, I have clubs a few times a week and message with other students every few days, but I have the freedom to recharge when I need to, allowing me to be the best version of myself.”

As one of the first students to enroll at ASU Prep Digital, Stewart has made extracurricular activities a priority of her high school experience, immersing herself in the ASU Prep Digital community.

“My first year I joined the pen pal club and book club,” Stewart said. “I went on to become the president of the photography/yearbook club last year, and now I’m the president of student government and a writer for the student newspaper!”

Stewart likes keeping busy, but socialization is more than that for her—it’s a way to connect with like-minded peers and be a part of something bigger than herself.

“I like having a sense of community within a club,” Stewart said. “You see the same people every week, and you’re all invested in the same thing. You start to develop inside jokes and learn more about each other, so by the time you meet physically, you already know each other well.”

Stewart lives in South Korea, making it difficult to attend in-person events. But with senior year coming to a close, they’ll be a few opportunities worth making the trip to Arizona. 

“I am so excited to meet everyone at the end of the year when I go to Arizona for my graduation,” Stewart said. “And student government may be planning another event that will be a lot of fun to attend!” 

For those who are on the fence about online learning because of the socialization component, Stewart makes it clear that just like in a traditional school, it’s up to each individual to make the effort to be social and active in their school community.

A lot of people are turned off of online school because they think it just involves holing up with your computer all day,” Stewart said. “By making an effort, joining clubs, and actively participating, I’ve been able to make some great friends and keep myself from getting lonely. I’ve never felt like I was at a disadvantage because of my desire to receive the right kind of education for me.”


Interested in learning more about how socialization works at ASU Prep Digital? Be sure to check out our next blog post where we’ll talk about ASU Prep Digital community events, student clubs, and more! In the meantime, sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on all things ASU Prep Digital. 

What’s It Like to Take a Concurrent Course?

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Alexis Stratman, a senior at ASU Prep Digital, has always been a hard-working, independent learner.

“I like guidance and direction for some things,” Stratman said. “But I strive when I’m in charge of my own things and can work at my own pace.”

When she discovered she could apply her work ethic to an online learning environment where she could also kick start her college career, the choice was a no-brainer.

“I chose to enroll at ASU Prep Digital my junior year mainly because of the college credit component,” Stratman said. “They offer college courses and credit that don’t require taking AP tests.”

Since she enrolled, Stratman has successfully completed four college classes through ASU: college algebra, sociology, first-year composition, and economics. 

“I think my favorite course was college algebra because math is my best subject,” Stratman said. “Actually, I finished the course several weeks early, which gave me more time to focus on my first-year composition class.”

That’s the great thing about online learning: you get to work on your own time. The flexibility component makes it easy to work ahead, spend more time on classes you need a little help in, or free up time to do things you love.

“I am very active in competitive cheerleading and my team travels a lot throughout the year,” Stratman said. “I can work ahead and plan ‘off days’ so my travel schedule doesn’t interfere with my studies and I get a little break.”

Concurrent enrollment has not only given Stratman the opportunity to get comfortable taking college level courses, but it has also helped her get ahead of the competition.

“At the rate I’m completing my college classes, I’ll be in a position to enroll at ASU as a sophomore next fall,” Stratman said. 


“I think switching to online school was one of the best decisions I have ever made.”


Stratman has paved a successful path for herself and for those who want to follow in her footsteps, she offers this advice:

“I would definitely recommend taking a concurrent course,” Stratman said. “Some classes are harder than others, but they have prepared me for my future college courses. I know what it’s like to be responsible and I have been able to get an idea of how different professors teach and what their expectations are.”

And with graduation less than a year away, Stratman has her sights set on continuing her journey as a Sun Devil. 

“I’d like to major in business entrepreneurship at the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU,” Stratman said. “I can’t wait to see where I end up next fall with the help of ASU Prep Digital!”


Interested in learning more about taking a concurrent course at ASU Prep Digital? We’ll be outlining the benefits of concurrent enrollment here at ASU Prep Digital in our next blog post. In the meantime, sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on everything from events to enrollment deadlines.

ASU Prep Digital Student Spotlight – Olivia Bolles

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When you dig deep to figure out how online high school students are successful, you’ll discover they are organized, goal-oriented, and self-motivated.

Olivia Bolles embodies all of these traits—and she’s a force to be reckoned with.

Bolles began online school in junior high, making her a veteran online learner. After trying out public school her freshman year of high school, she enrolled in a private online high school in 10th grade before finding her way to our community of learners.

“When we found out we were moving to Arizona, we switched to ASU Prep Digital,” Bolles said. “ASU Prep Digital’s connection to ASU, and the ability to take online college classes, was very appealing to me.”

Along with being able to take university courses through ASU, being an ASU Prep Digital student affords Bolles the opportunity to make more time for her biggest passion—music.

“I’ve been playing violin for 12 years and the piano for 9,” Bolles said. “Every week, I go to ASU for a private violin lesson with an ASU professor. Additionally, I’m the assistant concertmaster of the Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestra!”

Because she can set her own schedule, and work from anywhere, Bolles is able to do schoolwork and make time to practice music, ensuring she never misses a ‘beat.’

“My musical endeavors keep me very busy,” Bolles said. “I know I wouldn’t be able to practice music as much if it weren’t for the flexibility of my ASU Prep Digital schedule.”

As an experienced online learner, Bolles has come to find that online school has many benefits. The most unexpected benefit, in her opinion, has been growing into an independent learner.

“By the time you’re in college, your professors will expect you to be mature and responsible enough to know when assignments are due,” Bolles said. “Unfortunately, many students are so used to having teachers in a brick-and-mortar constantly reminding them when assignments are due and tests are happening. Online school prepares you for college in a way that a brick-and-mortar may not.” 

While Bolles learns skills that will benefit her in college, she’s already thinking about what path she might take—and how she can get a head start while she’s still in high school.

“I would like to double major in violin performance and journalism,” Bolles said. “At the beginning of next semester, I’ll take college English and sociology. I’m even considering adding on a college level Spanish course as well.”

Bolles is on a successful path and shows no signs of slowing down. And for those who are new to ASU Prep Digital, and online learning in general, she offers advice that will prove useful as you navigate this new experience.

“Be sure to utilize your pace charts!” Bolles said. “Make lots of checklists and keep a detailed schedule. And don’t be afraid to contact teachers. Our teachers are extremely willing to help and will go above and beyond to make sure we are succeeding, both in and out of school.”


Interested in learning more about our students? Check out these spotlights:

And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on all things ASU Prep Digital.