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ASU Prep Digital helped high schooler zero in on film from the Hopi reservation

Chelsea Seletewa’s interest in film helped her discover more about her family and led her to ASU Prep Digital


Chelse Selestewa portrait

ASU Prep Digital student Chelsea Seletewa

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February 19, 2021

Chelsea Seletewa is a senior attending ASU Prep Digital. While living on the Hopi reservation in northern Arizona, she has become a member of the Sun Devil community. 

Seletewa decided she wanted more from school. She transitioned to online high school about a year ago so that she could take courses that aligned with her future career goals, including a course about filmmaking. 

“The high school in my area didn’t have a good reputation,” Seletewa said. “They weren’t preparing students for life beyond high school. My mom's friend mentioned prep digital at ASU, and I went for it,” she said.

Seletewa's decision to get involved with ASU Prep Digital and take their filmmaking course came after she worked on making a short film with a professional filmmaker. The short film was a documentary about three different generations of her family: herself, her father and her grandmother. She learned a lot about her family’s history and about how life was different for each generation. She also realized the importance of spending time with family, and she was able to deepen connections with her family members. 

“I asked them questions about how their lives were different. I compared it to how my life is now with them in it,” Seletewa said. “I learned a lot from my grandma. I guess I should sit down with them more often to learn about our family.” 

The storytelling experience gave Seletewa a glimpse of what it would be like to make films professionally, and she’s now planning to pursue a career in film or animation.  

Completing her high school education from home has been challenging but rewarding for Seletewa. After about a month of taking online courses, she found a routine that works for her. Finding a source of motivation and focusing on it has helped her stay committed to completing her coursework. 

“Motivation is a big factor, and you hear it a lot in online school,” Seletewa said. “Learn that your teachers aren’t going to sit there and teach you. It is a self-learning process that you have to get used to.”

Persistence has been key for Seletewa, and she said her Learning Success Coach has been extremely helpful. She has had the same Learning Success Coach for her entire online schooling experience. These coaches help students with goal-setting and planning, and they are available to help any ASU Prep Digital student. 

Seletewa shared that it’s important for her to be independent and responsible, but it’s just as important to ask for help when she needs it.  

She is currently taking six classes, and she attends the live lectures for each class whenever she can. Her advice to anyone transitioning to online schooling is to be patient with themselves.

“One of the big things is to not get discouraged when you're starting out because, of course, it will take a while to adapt,” Seletewa said. “It took me almost a month to adapt to actual online school.”

As the world enters the new year, many are still stuck behind a computer screen. Seletewa was used to the online format. However, she felt for those who were thrown into it without any preparation.

“I heard when schools shut down it was hard for them to get back in the flow of things because they don’t know what online schooling is like,” she said. “I was already used to it, so I think I had an advantage. It was interesting to see people around me struggling.”

She offers some advice for those her age who are struggling to maintain their grades during this unprecedented time. She also recommends going to live lectures in order to connect with other classmates and make friends. 

“It was hard for me. I was going through a lot when I started online. I think for everyone if your grades drop it becomes really hard to keep them up, but it is really important to keep going at it and to watch out for your mental health.”

Written by Claire Muranaka and Annika Tourlas, ASU Student Life. Reporting by Hannah Moulton Belec.

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