High School Graduation: Cymri’s Story at Sora

High School Graduation: Cymri’s Story at Sora
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Graduation is right around the corner for high school seniors. We at Sora are proud of our own graduating seniors for their hard work, passion, and devotion to making Sora an amazing school. So we decided to interview them to give you a firsthand look at what it’s like to be a Sora student. To cap off this series, we’re highlighting Cymri’s story.

John: Welcome, Cymri. It’s good to meet you.

Cymri: It’s good to meet you too.

John: Let’s start off with how you found out about Sora. How long have you been here?

Cymri: So growing up I wanted to be a professional ballet dancer. I was pursuing it until the summer of 2019 when I quit due to mental and emotional health, and for some physical health. I hadn’t planned on going to college or finishing high school. I was just going to get my GED. But when I quit I realized I wanted to finish high school and go to college. I wanted to build another career for myself. 

I was in the middle of my junior year, so I needed a fast-paced online school [to graduate on time]. I’ve been homeschooled my whole life, doing self-made curricula. The first one I found was James Madison High School. It was basically all online learning. There were no video calls or messages with my peers or teachers. It was just computer-assigned work. It was just reading a bunch of articles, watching some videos, and then maybe taking a quiz. And I’m a more interactive, hands-on learner. So that wasn’t working for me, and I wasn’t moving fast enough.

But at the same time as I found James Madison, I also found Sora. The first thing that kept me from going was how much it was per month. But then Sora got back to my mom, saying they were willing to offer a scholarship. So I’m very thankful that I got a full scholarship to go to Sora.

I started January 2020, and I mean this in every sense of the word. It has changed the course of my life.  

John: What an amazing thing that you genuinely feel like this has changed the course of your life. Is there anything else that drew you to Sora?

When I shared my struggles in math, Carolyn, [Sora’s STEM Expert], jumped in and said, “You’re not bad at math. You just learn in a different way.” That was huge and made me want to go to Sora so badly.

Cymri: What attracted me to Sora was the fact that it’s project-based. It incorporates my hands-on learning style. I had a meeting with the founders and [Learning] Experts, and they were all really comforting. 

One of my biggest struggles is in math. I have dyscalculia, which is like math dyslexia. In that initial meeting when I shared my struggles in math, Carolyn, [Sora’s STEM Expert], jumped in and said, “You’re not bad at math. You just learn in a different way.” That was huge and made me want to go to Sora so badly.

John: I’d love to learn more about your experience with the Learning Experts. How have they adapted to the way that you learn best?

Cymri: Carolyn has been a saint. She is fantastic. I was really nervous at first because I’ve always been insecure about my dyscalculia. Carolyn taught me that it’s not a reflection of how smart I am. She taught me that it’s okay to be where you are, and a lot of people struggle with this–more than you would think. So she has been extremely patient in finding the best way to help me move as quickly as possible through math. She explains the concepts in a way that I can understand and process. And if I have any questions, I don’t feel afraid to ask her. I would describe her as a very safe and caring teacher. 

John: Sounds like a really good teacher. 

Cymri: Yeah, she’s fantastic. 

John: Looking forward, how prepared do you feel moving into your next big step in life?

Cymri: I’m nervous, but that’s a natural feeling. I’m moving out of state. I’m going to Jacksonville University. It’s in-person, which is new to me. But as far as the academic preparation, I’ve been told time and time again that my workload now is much harder than it will be in college. 

Brandy, the Counselor [at Sora], the founders, Carolyn–they’ve all told me that I’ll be okay. Also, Sora is structured similarly to college because of its one-month cycle. You get to choose your classes and what times you’ll have your classes. I feel like I am very prepared. 

John: Would you like to speak to how Brandy has helped you with your transition into this exciting next chapter?

Cymri: She has been an amazing counselor for me. I’ve gotten so close with her just from the year and a half that I’ve been at Sora. She has not only been excellent in the academic side of things–like making sure that I’m staying on pace, and this transition into college. But she’s also been a person that I trust and can go to when I’m having a hard time. I can bring my frustrations and my anxiety. Anything that I’m struggling with–I feel safe and can bring it to Brandy. She always listens and offers the best advice. She is always fighting for you. 

John: That’s amazing. Returning to college now, what are you going to major in?

Cymri: I am majoring in Marine Sciences at Jacksonville University–very different from being a professional dancer. This is the biggest reason why Sora has changed the course of my life. I want to focus on ocean conservation and shark protection, and all of that started from going to one Expedition [at Sora] during the summer. I used to be deathly afraid of sharks, but now I can’t wait to go diving with sharks. It completely changed my perspective. Before this, I had the hardest time figuring out what I wanted to pursue for college. But this [Learning Expedition] completely set it in place. 

John: Wow. Is there anything that you want to say to people who are considering Sora for themselves?

Cymri: Yes, you won’t regret it. Just give it a chance. It fits everyone’s learning style. The Learning Experts, the other students, the founders–they’re all concerned for your success, your health, and the way that you learn. It’s quite literally all the best aspects [of education] packaged into one online school. So give it a try!

Interested in Sora for Your Student?

If you’re interested in learning more about our innovative virtual high school, you can reach out to our admissions team here.

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