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Digital Academy of Florida Students are Now Eligible for NCAA Scholarships

by | Dec 20, 2023 | Boca News | 0 comments

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Online Classes offer flexibility and academic rigor for student-athletes

BOCA RATON, FL (Boca Post) (Copyright © 2023) — Boca Raton, Florida’s own tennis prodigy, Aida Mitrache, found a way to strike a balance between her passion for the sport and her academic pursuits. Throughout high school, she dedicated countless hours to rigorous training sessions, sometimes practicing up to five or six days a week. Recognizing the importance of education alongside her athletic dreams of playing in college or even pursuing a professional career, Aida turned to Digital Academy of Florida (DAOF), an online schooling option. 

“DAOF provided me with the flexibility I needed to focus on my training while maintaining my academic excellence,” explains Aida. “It allowed me to study at the level I had prepared for and still compete at my best. “Online schools have become a popular choice for ambitious and focused students due to their flexibility. Recognizing the importance of catering to these passions and individual paths, DAOF is thrilled to announce that its core curriculum has been officially approved by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). 

Aida, who was a student at DAOF, made history as the first recipient of an NCAA scholarship. After graduating last May, she joined Coastal Carolina’s tennis team and is currently ranked 56th nationally for the class of 2023. Aida dreams of turning professional one day. 

Aida’s journey began in Romania, where she was born and lived until her family received a Diversity Visa from the U.S. Government in 2017. They initially settled in Pennsylvania before eventually moving to Florida. Under the coaching guidance of Romanian tennis legend Florin Ionescu, Aida honed her skills at Wisehaven Tennis Club during high school. 

 

Meeting NCAA guidelines 

Prior to Aida’s achievement, DAOF students were not eligible for NCAA scholarships. This motivated Principal Fred Whitaker to advocate for change and ensure that Aida received the opportunity she deserved. Obtaining approval involved a rigorous process with extensive paperwork and follow-up, which spanned over six months but ultimately succeeded. 

Whitaker says that the process was quite comprehensive, involving a back-and-forth exchange of paperwork to ensure all necessary details were provided. “However, it was worth the effort because we have numerous student athletes in Aida’s position, including tennis players, golfers and swimmers. Our school’s flexible schedule and challenging classes make it easier for our students to stand out when it comes to college admissions and securing scholarships.” 

In order to meet the standards set by the NCAA, DAOF offers unwavering support to athletes and helps them navigate their way towards both academic excellence and athletic achievements. Students aspire to compete at the collegiate level across various sports leagues like football, soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, swimming, baseball, lacrosse, tennis and more. All of which fall under NCAA jurisdiction. 

“DAOF provides a flexible online schooling option for student athletes which allows them to complete their coursework from any location at their own pace,” explains Principal Whitaker. “As an online public school approved by the NCAA, we take great pride in supporting our athletes and guiding them towards success academically as well as athletically throughout high school and beyond.” 

When a course is deemed NCAA approved, it means that its curriculum adheres to the standards set by the organization. Factors such as teacher qualifications, assessments conducted within the course and course content are carefully reviewed by the NCAA. 

DAOF offers a wide range of NCAA courses in various subject areas, with only a few elective exceptions – which is quite common. As long as a student’s core academic classes are approved, there shouldn’t be any issues with eligibility. For instance, subjects like English, math (algebra I or higher), natural or physical science, social science, foreign language, comparative religion or philosophy are generally considered acceptable. 

“We strongly believe in going the extra mile to support our students and student athletes,” Whitaker explains. “Thanks to Aida’s situation, scholarships are now potentially available for all our numerous student athletes – this opportunity is open to each and every one of them.” 

NCAA schools award an impressive sum of nearly $3.5 billion in athletics scholarships every year while providing extensive assistance to ensure that student athletes graduate at rates surpassing those of the general student population. 

There are three different categories within the NCAA: 

  1. Division I schools have the largest student populations, bigger budgets and offer more scholarships. 
  2. Division II schools prioritize academic achievement and community service. 
  3. Division III schools strive for both competitive athletic participation and academic excellence. 

If you want to learn more about DAOF’s curriculum and its approval by the NCAA, you can visit their website at https://daof.k12.com. 

The DAOF virtual school option 

DAOF is an online public-school program in Florida that caters to students from kindergarten to 12th grade. It is tuition free as it is a public school, allowing families to access the curriculum and tools provided by K12, which is part of Stride Company. Stride offers effective learning methods for learners of all ages to develop skills for their future. 

Principal Whitaker says that families who switched to DAOF feel empowered because they have more control over their school environment, especially when it comes to health and safety concerns. Online schooling allows families to balance learning with other commitments like work, extracurricular activities or family responsibilities. Other decision drivers include health and safety. 

At DAOF, students have the flexibility to work at their own pace based on their understanding of each topic. They come from diverse backgrounds but come together in a virtual classroom environment where they can share ideas and perspectives. 

Students in grades 7 to 12 are provided with the chance to engage in career and college preparation. 

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