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Arizona 11-year-old thriving beyond limits to reach his dreams and inspire others

Jayeden ASU Online Prep.jpeg
Posted at 11:52 AM, Sep 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-19 14:52:17-04

PHOENIX — Whether it’s learning coding languages or the ins and outs of car engines, eleven-year-old Jayeden is flexing his mental muscles as far as they’ll go.

“This is the engine and inside there’s an intake manifold. This is the computer for the car,” he says, showing us under the hood of his dad's SUV. “I know how to change a tire, change a gas pump, change wires, fuses, the steering column.”

Calling him ambitious probably doesn’t do it justice.

“My goal is to get straight A’s every single time and go up a couple grades and graduate early,” he said.

In fact, at one point in his life, his future was very uncertain.

When he was five years old, Jayeden suffered a serious brain injury when another child accidentally hit him with a hammer at daycare.

“It was very traumatic because it’s post-cognitive concussion,” said Claudia, Jayeden's mom.

Doctors warned Jayeden would suffer from permanent disabilities. However, instead of falling behind, the future engineer put the injury in the rearview.

He recently enrolled in ASU Online Prep Academy to further accelerate his education.

“I was just looking for schools and I didn’t like the one I had before so I was just looking at the school at ASU Prep digital and I saw they had good ratings on math and like college courses, and I picked it,” he said.

“He did his research and he said mom, 'this is the school I want to go to, 'and I was like, 'OK, whatever, you're going to go to the regular school,” said mom.

Jayeden wouldn’t be dissuaded that easily.

“He’s like, 'I really need you to take the time and really look at it,' and he literally sat with me and made me look at it with him, and I was like 'oh wow,'” she said.

“Parents and families and students, their eyes have been opened. There’s a new world, education is changing,” said Sarah Newsom, an academic success coach at ASU Online Prep Academy.

She said enrollment is up 700% since the beginning of the pandemic.

As ASU Online Prep, students receive live lessons over Zoom and massive flexibility to focus on non-traditional academic learning.

“As their success coach, I get to build a relationship with them and get to know them to figure out what motivates them to make them successful, career-wise, interest-wise, academic-wise,” said Newsom.

And it’s clear after meeting Jayeden, success is only the start as he looks to take control of his future now.