Bemidji student selected as Minnesota Connections Academy student of the month

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BEMIDJI -- While many students across the country transition to online schooling, Bemidji third-grader Gigi Tanner is already a pro at digital learning.

Tanner attends the statewide online public school, Minnesota Connections Academy, and was recently chosen as one of the school’s students of the month for being a virtual classroom leader.

While her classes are online, hands-on experiences are what excites Tanner the most. She prefers math and science classes because she is able to do experiments with household objects and attend field trips. Recently, she visited a wolf wildlife center, she said.

She prefers online school because she doesn’t have to worry about bullies or being late to class, she added.


Tanner has been a student at the Minnesota Connections Academy since 2017, after switching to online learning to provide her with a safer and better learning environment, her family explained.

Her family said the transition to the virtual classroom was great as the teachers are helpful and quick to answer questions. They added that Tanner enjoys school, her friends and the many field trips.

When trying to guess why she might’ve been honored, Tanner said, “I work hard.”

Heather Stott, Tanner’s teacher, said she nominated her for the hard work and determination to succeed she has demonstrated throughout the school year.

“Our students of the month demonstrate leadership and an extraordinary commitment to learning while serving as strong role models for their peers,” said Melissa Gould, Minnesota Connections Academy principal. “The members of our faculty and staff are proud to give these virtual classroom leaders the recognition they each deserve.”

Hannah Olson is a multimedia reporter for the Pioneer covering education, Indigenous-centric stories and features.
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