Student Features

Girl golfer to tee off on boys’ team

Aug 1, 2014

After lettering two years in golf, PA Cyber junior Amanda Avery learned recently that the school board in her home school district, South Side Area SD in Beaver County, Pa., had discontinued the girls’ golf team.

Not to worry – she’ll just join the boys’ team. "Her average for a nine-hole game is 39, which should rank her in the top three on the boys’ varsity team," said her mother, Therese Avery.

A Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School student since age 4, Amanda has never attended South Side, but she did play girls’ golf there as a freshman and sophomore. State law allows charter school students to participate in athletics and other extracurricular activities in their home districts if the charter does not offer that sport or activity. PIAA rules provide that girls may play on boys’ teams when the school does not provide a comparable girls’ team.  

Amanda placed 10th in the Midwestern Athletic Conference last season, and was among 18 girls who qualified for the WPIAL tournament. This summer she played on the Southwestern Pennsylvania Junior Golf Tour, teeing off at a dozen of the region’s finer courses during the months of June and July.

She won first place on the tour, competing against girl golfers up to age 18 in the championship flight. Amanda – who will turn 16 on Aug. 19 – placed first in seven out of 12 matches. She was fourth on the tour last summer.

"I’m so proud of Amanda for clinching first place overall and setting a record low at Cedarbrook Golf Course in Rostraver. Some of these girls also compete in KPGA", said Therese, referring to the Keystone’s Premier Golf Association.

"She began golfing with me for fun very young, basically putt-putt and par 3's until 2010, when she told me she loved golf and had a desire to better herself. The courseps and driving range became a daily routine," Therese said.

"I like a lot of things and activities, but I love golf best. It is something mom and I can do together, too, but I always beat her... well, most always,” said Amanda.

Amanda’s vocal talents have found her singing at a number of community and charitable events, including solos at the Beaver County Maple Festival and Zanafest at Harmony Ridge, and the national anthem at a Washington Wild Things baseball game. Her charity work has included raising money for Make-a-Wish and donating 13 inches of her hair to Locks of Love.

Amanda and her mom live near Clinton, Pa., in a rural part of Beaver County. Therese is semi-retired, operating a small craft business. She sells original handmade items in area boutiques, at events and online. She does landscape floral design and sells medicinal herbs.

Therese educated herself about herbal remedies for a very personal reason: polycystic kidney disease (PKD), also known as autosomal polycystic disease (APKD), a life-threatening genetic disorder in which cysts form on the kidneys.

Therese said, “I am one of three survivors in my family out of seven generations of PKD and APKD on my father’s side. Amanda's chances of developing PKD are 98 percent. I have incorporated healthy habits as well as natural herbal remedies into our lifestyle. I always say my interior design, as in genetics, is less than perfect, but PKD won't beat me."

She said, “We help raise funds through the PKD Walks and Runs in several states. We form teams and gain sponsorships, raising money for awareness and medical testing and advancement. I also have done writing and public speaking for the PKD Foundation.”

Amanda’s history with PA Cyber goes back to the school’s beginnings.

“She was 3 years old when I brought her down to the first meeting at The Willows (Inn). I had to wait until she was 4 to enroll her in kindergarten,” said her mother. “Cyber school gives us the flexibility to travel, as her classroom is portable.”

A single mom for nearly all of Amanda’s life, Therese said she is proud of her daughter’s character as well as her achievements. 

“I have raised her alone, and taught her to always help when she is able and do so humbly. I have a great daughter,” she said.

"Mom taught me there are no limits to my abilities. I want to get a scholarship for college and turn pro,” Amanda said. “I am determined to succeed. I know everybody wants to be the best; I want it more."

About PA Cyber

Serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (PA Cyber) is one of the largest, most experienced, and most successful online public schools in the nation. PA Cyber's online learning environments, personalized instructional methods, and choices of curricula connect Pennsylvania students and their families with state-certified and highly-qualified teachers, and rich academic content that is aligned to state standards. Founded in 2000, PA Cyber is headquartered in Midland (Beaver County) and maintains a network of support offices throughout the state. As a public school, PA Cyber is open for enrollment by any school-age child residing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and does not charge tuition to students or families.