Student Spotlight: Sienna Conaghan of West Yellowstone High School
West Yellowstone High School
Class of 2023
Sienna was first introduced to MTDA when she took the Language Sampler class in middle school, a requirement at West Yellowstone– a small district with under 300 students– when they were down a language teacher. She found she liked the self-paced nature of online learning, which actually helped her focus, giving her a chance to re-set when she needed.
She decided mid-way through her freshman year that she wanted to graduate early, as her older brother and older sister had, and MTDA was the only way to accomplish that goal. So she got busy. Sienna has completed 14 courses, from Latin and German that first year, to electives like sports marketing and digital photography, and dual-credit History. This fall she is taking AP Government and French 3, and plans to add journalism to her schedule next spring. and will be graduating early, next June, 2023.
Terry Harris, the MTDA site facilitator at West Yellowstone, describes Sienna as a dedicated student. “She wants to push herself and explore her options. MTDA offers the opportunity to explore.” Harris’ role is to support the MTDA-enrolled students who come to her classroom during dedicated periods. She monitors their time on task and grades and will contact a parent if there is an issue. There never has been with Sienna. “She’s a student I don’t have to chase. Instead, she’s in my office asking which class she should take next.” Harris credits Sienna’s individual drive for her success. And it shows, 11 of those 14 final grades were A’s.
Sienna stays busy outside of class too, holding a full-time job over the summer, and playing both volleyball and basketball. Time management has been Sienna’s biggest challenge, juggling her course load, especially during basketball season. She admits that it’s hard to manage classes, sports, and social life. “I had to figure out a schedule on my own, figuring out the pace of each class so that I’m not drowning on a Sunday night,” says Conaghan. Her advice for other students is “manage your time well and set time aside for the work. It’s ok to say ‘no’ to hanging out with friends if you have schoolwork to do!”
After graduation next spring, Sienna plans to study journalism. She is applying to colleges in Montana and around the country. Wherever she ends up, the sky is the limit for Sienna’s future!