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Different path lands Broomfield’s Jonathan Morrison with Air Force hockey

Recent graduate used online school and played with travel teams

Courtesy photo/Jonathan Morrison
Jonathan Morrison is working to recover from knee surgery to get back to full strength and continue to play with his travel team before joining the Air Force hockey program.
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The path to Colorado Springs and the Air Force Academy was slightly different for Jonathan Morrison.

It started when he was six years old and played hockey for the first time. Morrison, who began his childhood in Eagle, would eventually move to Broomfield and continue his education at Westlake Middle School and Broomfield High School for two years.

But rather than playing on a high school team, Morrison decided to play on travel teams. He joined the Rocky Mountain Roughriders AAA team once he moved to Broomfield. More recently, his travel hockey career continued with the New Jersey Hitmen.

“At a young age, hockey where I’m from did not have a lot of exposure,” Morrison said. “I started coming down to skate with the teams and then at (age) 11 I started playing with them.”

The defenseman left his mark with each season that he played. By his sophomore year at Broomfield, he was receiving interest from college teams to play at the next level. Morrison ended up making his commitment to join the Air Force and play for the Falcons back in 2016 after taking a visit with the school.

“I grew up and went to a few games when I was younger, and they brought me in for an unofficial visit,” Morrison said. “I love the campus and thought it would fit me. Their style of play and the coaches seem phenomenal. I also love the whole commitment part after college. That’s something I want to do because it’s something bigger than myself.”

With his commitment in place, hockey became more prevalent in Morrison’s life. Balancing playing the sport year round and going to school became difficult to manage. After completing his sophomore year at Broomfield, he made the switch to continue his education through Colorado Connections Academy, a public K-12 online school in Colorado which opened back in 2002.

“This was one of the first connection schools that opened,” Principal Castillo said. “We model our school around individualization to give a quality and rigorous curriculum online with certified teachers. The kids have virtual lessons and can be provided teacher support.”

Castillo, the principal for the high school portion of the academy, says the school has grown during her four years with them.

The school is a resource for students of all backgrounds and lifestyles, ranging from kids with a full schedule that need unconventional hours for schooling, such as Morrison, to kids that are home schooled and those that have not found the right fit at a standard school. Castillo says the school is projected to serve roughly 3,000 students in the upcoming school year.

Students go to school for a typical school year and will work to complete roughly 350 lessons during that time. The online school allows students to work at the pace that fits them and can obtain additional help when necessary, Castillo added.

“Our teachers work a traditional work day and the students can talk with them in multiple ways,” Castillo said. “Our teachers have a virtual lesson once a week on a topic, but there is time to talk to teachers a couple times a month. We have an internal email system, they can call, and our teachers use a service to schedule appointments to talk to students when needed.”

For Morrison, he was able to work at a faster pace in subjects such as science and physics, something he hopes to use to potentially fly planes and be involved with space operations. The online school also allowed him more time at the rink and to play with a travel team to take his game to the next level.

“I’m a visual learner, so sometimes it can be tricky, but the convenience and flexible schedule was what I needed,” Morrison said. “With hockey the past two years, you show up at 9 a.m. and leave at 5. This allowed me to be able to do my school before and after.”

Now a graduate, Morrison is working to recover from knee surgery to get back to full strength and continue to play with his travel team before joining the Air Force hockey program.

“I’ll be training in the gym, recovering from my knee surgery and getting on the ice soon,” Morrison said.