For a student like Morgan, traditional high school just didn’t fit. A bright and motivated young woman who values education, Morgan knew to advocate for herself and asked her parents for the opportunity to try something different. She switched to online schooling for a year and a half, but her online program didn’t have any college counselors and Morgan knew she wanted to go to college. In her search for more support, she discovered VAL.
“The moment I walked into the Burlington Learning Center it was exactly what I was looking for. It was an amazing feeling,” Morgan recalled. She spent her Senior year with VAL and fell in love with the independence it afforded and the community she found.
“Everyone at VAL was so helpful. They wrote me recommendations, called colleges, and had meetings with admissions. Everyone at VAL went above and beyond to help me reach my goals and I saw that effort and energy for others, too. It was a very helpful and supportive environment,” she said of her experience.
“I think that VAL really allowed me the freedom that encouraged greater independence in me and helped me feel confident in going out there and pursuing different endeavors,” Morgan recalled. “When I was in traditional high school that independence was really stripped away and not personalized in any way. I was really lucky to have gotten that experience at VAL.”
“I remember science and anything to do with STEM had always been a struggle for me in traditional school,” Morgan reflected. “I was just a slow learner of math and science and needed someone to walk me through it on an individual level. VAL was able to do that with me and it was a really good experience!”
Thinking back on some of the individuals that made an impact, Morgan recalled, “There was a student teacher from UVM who was amazing and would stay late to help me out. My VAL math teacher was so nice and patient that it made me look forward to math class.” When Morgan arrived at Emmanuel College in Boston she was nervous about college-level math. “I did pass and I really credit VAL for preparing me and establishing the basics of what I needed to know.”
Another VAL class that prepared her for college more than she expected was film theory.
“I loved it so much and think about it so often. I had never seen The Shining before and we had to write an essay and analysis. That was the catalyst for my interest in film theory and media theory.” That interest served Morgan well when she got to college. “That assignment alone helped me so much going to a liberal art school where I did take a lot of theory classes. The VAL staff and teachers were so knowledgeable and brought such interesting topics to the discussion. There was also lots of diversity in my classes, so there were students of all ages and backgrounds and lots of interesting perspectives being shared. Basically, when I got to college it felt like I’d already been taking college courses thanks to VAL.”
Morgan graduated from Emmanuel in May 2022 and was accepted to grad school but is taking a breather to focus on writing and marketing work, which she loves. In addition to freelancing for an agency, Morgan founded her own business, Golden Copy, and works as a creative director with small businesses to help them develop, define, and maximize their online presence.
Even now, with her BA in hand and a business under her wing, Morgan’s appreciation for VAL hasn’t faded. When asked what she wishes people knew about VAL, she answered, “I wish more people knew they could go to VAL for the great resources and people!”