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'Focus On Pursuing Your Dreams': Bronze Medalist Arielle Gold Returns To Colorado

By Shawn Chitnis

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)- Bronze medalist Arielle Gold gave the commencement address on Friday to the online school she graduated from while training to become an Olympic snowboarder.

"I was traveling a ton for snowboarding and just didn't really have the time to be taking in person classes," she said. "Where we can bring our school wherever we travel, pretty much wherever we travel because we're traveling almost year-round."

US Arielle Gold competes in run 3 of the women's snowboard halfpipe final event at the Phoenix Park during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 13, 2018 in Pyeongchang. (credit: LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)

Gold graduated from the Destinations Career Academy of Colorado in 2014 and would later go on to win the Bronze medal in the Women's Halfpipe at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics Women's Freestyle Snowboarding Halfpipe Finals
Chloe Kim, USA, GOLD with Arielle Gold, USA BRONZE following the women's halfpipe final at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on 13th February 2018 at Phoenix Snow Park in South Korea (photo by Sam Mellish / In Pictures via Getty Images)

She is now a sophomore at the University of Colorado, Boulder studying Psychology. She hopes to get master's degree in Equine Science.

"It's just really important to always focus on pursuing your dreams even if it means making some sacrifices," she said. "There may be times when it gets difficult but online school obviously allowed me to pursue mine and I hope that they can do the same."

The Today Show Gallery of Olympians
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 13: Bronze medalist in Snowboard Ladies' Halfpipe Arielle Gold of the United States poses for a portrait on the Today Show Set on February 13, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images)

Destinations Career Academy of Colorado is an online career technical education program accredited by the Colorado Community College System. It offers classes for grades six to 12 and is tuition free.

"Arielle is a great example of someone who can thrive here," said Teri Cady, Head of School. "By choosing a school like Destinations Career Academy they can have this unique program even if the local school doesn't have it."

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(credit: CBS)

Cady says online classes can still have a social component like traditional schools because students interact with teachers and other students with cameras and microphones. She says the format is attracting more students like Gold but also institutions that see the value in offering it in some form.

"More and more students are going toward online whether it's in a hybrid or a full time model," said Cady. "Many universities are going in that direction, it's a great skill and place for a student to go to school."

OLYMPICS: FEB 19 PyeongChang - Day 12
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea - FEBRUARY 19: U.S. Snowboarder bronze medalist Arielle Gold from Steamboat Springs, CO meets with fans before the women's hockey semi finals between the U.S.A. and Finland during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Gangneung Hockey Center on February 19, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Gold hopes the graduating class takes away from her story that perseverance is key. It is a lesson she developed after competing in two Winter Games.

"I'm almost retired from snowboarding after this past season before this Olympics," she explained. "Just being able to come back and having one of the best seasons I've ever had."

USA House at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 14: U.S. Olympians Arielle Gold and Chloe Kim attend the USA House at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 14, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for USOC)

That lesson has universal appeal she says and is one she looks to as she prepares for the rest of her academic career and continues to compete in snowboarding.

"A great learning experience for me and I hope to continue to carry that into my future endeavors," Gold said.

Shawn Chitnis reports for CBS4 News at 10 on weekends and CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. throughout the week. Email him story ideas at and connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.

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