Allison works at Lucas Industries, an aerospace company in North Springfield, Vermont. The Springfield area, historically, has been a center for precision industries. Allison supports manufacturing of helicopter blades. She is also intentional in her willingness to work across areas of the company as needs arise. She hopes to work her way up within the company. She recognizes that growing her skills—across departments—enhances her value as an employee.
Allison is also a newly-minted high school graduate, having completed her studies at VAL’s Learning Center in Springfield, Vermont. Her high school experience was impacted by anxiety, depression and simply feeling unwell most of the time. Even with loads of parental support, she felt overwhelmed and decided to leave high school to invest time to get to the bottom of the health issues impeding her ability to study. She experienced a revolving door of medical practitioners before—at age 18—receiving accurate diagnoses that would allow her to address symptoms with appropriate medical care.
“I was trying my hardest at school,” Allison said. “I knew something wasn’t right.”
When Allison was ready to return to school, she opted to pursue her high school studies via VAL when she was 19. She carefully mapped out an educational plan with her academic advisor. She persisted, even though she had to take time off periodically to address health flare-ups.
“VAL was so helpful,” Allison said. “I could start right back to work (at VAL) towards my graduation. Ashley (Ashley Dailey, Regional Director-Windsor) was amazing. She was so understanding and she did whatever she could to help me get my education.”
Earning her high school credential at VAL allowed Allison to explore academic interests she missed during her traditional high school years.
“I’m very artistic,” Allison said. “There was this photography class where we explored different techniques and photographed landscapes and portraits. I really enjoyed this. I didn’t really get to ‘attend’ high school; I didn’t get to take these fun classes. I still do photography. I love taking pictures of my family and friends and my cat, T-Rex.”
“VAL helped me learn that I was resilient,” Allison said. “It took quite a while (to finish her studies) and I just kept going. I’m now using that resilience to manage my medical issues. You have to keep on, keeping on.”
When asked, Allison shared that she is most proud of the extensive writing portfolio project she completed at VAL. She had to write a collection of short, reflective essays about herself.
“One prompt asked me to describe my bedroom and how it reflects me,” Allison said. “I really enjoy decorating. I love flowers. I realized that the clean white lines in the moulding were calming. This was an important insight for me.”
Allison’s ambition is to build a happy life. She finds great happiness in being near family and expressing herself creatively. She enjoys her current job and points out that, eventually, she’d love to find a position that allows her to express more of her creative side.
“One of the most important things people should know about VAL is that your age doesn’t matter,” Allison said. “They are happy to help and will set you on the right track. It’s very scary to go back to school. VAL was there to help me.”
“Allison is a kind hearted, hard working student that I feel so lucky to have met and worked with,” Ashley said. “No matter what obstacles life threw at her, she always remained in contact with me and committed to her goal of obtaining her diploma.”