K12 Inc to Sponsor Andretti Autosport Star Mazda Driver Zach Veach K12, the nation's largest provider of proprietary curriculum and online education programs for students in kindergarten through high school, announced today they have signed on to serve as the primary sponsor of Andretti Autosport Star Mazda Championship driver Zach Veach, beginning with his race at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis and continuing through the balance of the 2012 season.
"K12 is honored to partner with such a positive and accomplished young man," said Ron Packard, CEO and Founder of K12 Inc. "Zach is the perfect example of how individualized learning can make life easier for a student who is working towards a dream yet still wants to receive a full-time education."
K12 has delivered over 4.5 million online courses from its extensive portfolio over the past decade, including courses developed for credit recovery, core courses, world languages, and AP and high school electives. Curriculum solutions provided by K12 are used in over 2000 school districts and through full-time online public schools like the one Zach attends. The flexibility and quality of these programs, where students access lessons, classrooms and teacher support via the Internet, appeals to a wide variety of students including advanced learners and those who are honing unique talents. For Veach, online learning keeps him on pace to pursue his career as a semi-pro racing driver.
Veach, a 17-year-old from Stockdale, Ohio, is currently enrolled in The Ohio Virtual Academy, an online public school that pairs state-certified teachers with the curriculum provided by K12 to individualize education. Racing since age 12, Veach joined INYDCAR's "Mazda Road to Indy" developmental ladder program in 2010. After a tailored 2010 season, he returned to the series in 2011 by using two race wins and three pole positions to capture the Cooper Tires USF2000 Winterfest championship before the regular season, where he finished fourth in driver points with one win, five podiums and three pole positions.
Heading into the 2012 season, Veach used four race wins and four pole positions to capture the Formula Car Challenge presented by Goodyear Winter Series championship, his second straight career winter series championship, before opening the 2012 Star Mazda Championship season.
And though Veach takes his racing career quite seriously, his passion for winning in no way precludes his commitment to his studies. As a high school Junior, Veach keeps in touch with his teachers via email, attends classes through Elluminate, an online collaboration platform, and can be found at his many races, appearances and media commitments utilizing downtime to complete his homework to stay on track in the "classroom".
"I definitely wouldn't be where I am today pursuing a career in racing without the K12 curriculum to help me," said Veach. "The opportunity K12 provides kids like me is unparalleled. I have the chance to still pursue my dream and still get my full education at the same time. For K12 to step-up and be part of my dream even further by helping to support my racing career is really an honor."
K12 is also supportive of Veach's commitments to help others outside of his accomplishments on the racetrack. In May 2010, Veach joined Oprah Winfrey's "No Phone Zone" initiative as a Spokes Kid for the program and added 33 Indy 500 drivers to her campaign to help put an end to distracted driving, following a fellow teen in Veach's hometown being killed by a texting driver.
Succeeding his visit to "The Oprah Winfrey Show," Veach was named as the national spokesperson for FocusDriven, Advocates for Cell-Free Driving. He then created the self-made Android application, urTXT, an application that allows consumers to auto-respond to messages while driving, through his phone-app building company, ZaAPP.
In March 2011, Veach released his first book, 99 THINGS TEENS WISH THEY KNEW BEFORE TURNING 16, with an appearance on NBC's The Today Show, followed closely by ESPN The Magazinenaming Veach a NEXT athlete in the motorsports space. He has also been a nominee for the Sports Illustrated Sports Kid of the Year award, the CNN Hero award and the Gatorade Athlete of the year award. CNN also named him to their list of "Intriguing People" and The Century Council, an arm within the government, named Veach a "SuperStar" alongside the NBA's Shaquille O'Neil and Olympic Speed Skater Apolo Ohno.
Further, Veach is a spokesperson and judge in the Cyber Safety Academy's Great American No BULL Challenge, a national anti-bullying movement contest for youth across America. As a student who was also bullied in school, Veach took a stand by speaking out about his battle with bullying as the youngest speaker on Capitol Hill during American Public Health Association's annual celebration of the National Public Health Week and hope his voice will help combat this growing epidemic.
K12 joins other partners in Veach's 2012 effort in the Star Mazda Championship that include Zakosi Data Backup, The Young Marines, ADS IT Solutions, Replay XD, OMP, and Arai Helmets.