Southeast Minnesota teenager takes advantage of upload

NEW RICHLAND, Minnesota (KTTC) – Distance learning has been a nightmare for many students this year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, for a teenager from New Richland, going to school online is a dream come true.

“He has what we call a developmental delay or intellectual disability,” Christina Petsinger said of her son, Eric Arvis. “Through further studies with the Mayo Clinic, we found that his frontal lobe had not developed properly. That’s what causes most of his problems.”

A family friend gave them a little advice.

She said, ‘Hey Chris, check this out,’ Petsinger recalls. ‘I said,’ Online? Are you crazy? ‘

They even gave the brick and mortar school another chance.

“He had teachers who didn’t believe in him and he went south. We took him out and put him back in the MNVA and he was just a rock star.”

MNVA stands for Minnesota Virtual Academy. Online school has turned Eric from a failing student into a straight student. What’s the secret ?

“For him, it’s a bit more one-on-one,” said Eric’s father, Patrick Petsinger.

“The teachers make it fun,” Eric said.

He even has a favorite subject.

“Mostly history,” said Eric, who also enjoys learning about the solar system.

He doesn’t spend all of his time online. Eric enjoys his fair share of extracurricular activities, including the running track for NRHEG High School.

“We are definitely keeping him active,” his mother said. “He’s still in the Boy Scouts.”

Eric also divides his time between 4-H and taekwondo. With Eric’s busy schedule, the Minnesota Virtual Academy allows him to learn at his own pace and have more control over his education, including getting help with more difficult subjects like chemistry. .

“He has to hand in his work before the end of the day, but his end of the day could be the night after I get home from work,” said Patrick.

While this e-learning model isn’t for everyone, Christina recommends it to others.

“Definitely,” she said. “They have to have the will and drive to do something a little more difficult.”

Eric’s parents were told he would never do grade school work, but he’s caught up and that’s exactly what he’s doing.


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Perry A. Thomasson