High School Graduation: Alexa’s Story at Sora

High School Graduation: Alexa’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. This week, we’re highlighting Alexa’s story.

John: Welcome, Alexa. To start off, how long have you been a student at Sora?

Alexa:  So I’ve been a student at Sora since last July, and I’ve been here ever since.

John: So you pretty much did your senior year here.

Alexa: Yeah, this would be my senior year.

John: What drew you to Sora?

Alexa: My aunt was actually the first person to find out about it, and she told my mom during my junior year. I ended up dual enrolling at a local technical college. But when COVID started, the classes moved online. The way they were doing classes didn’t work well for me at all. So we took another look at Sora, and I did an “Experience Sora,” where I visited the school [virtually] and met some of the students. I had a good experience, and I liked the project structure a lot better.

John: I’d love to hear more about what “Experience Sora” was like.

Alexa: I got to join one of the workshops they had going on at the time. It was on the basics of Pixar animation. I remember my first impression was like, “Huh, I didn’t realize you could mix art and math so easily!” And then I just hit it off. I liked the community. I liked how everyone was talking.

John: It sounds like it really stood out to you how they took these subjects–art and math–that are usually kept separate in school and mixed them in a creative way. That’s actually pretty representative of how you might use them in the real world.

Alexa: Yeah, it’s cool.

John: It also sounds like they did a good job helping you ease your way into the virtual community.

Alexa: I think one of my favorite parts of the community is–do you know how the school has houses?

John: Yeah.

Alexa: I love the cultures that get set up with the houses–like little quirks that each house does, or the way we joke around. It’s fun when we do larger things like Spirit Day. You can really see the culture of each house pop out. 

John: For those of us who aren’t familiar with the houses [at Sora], could you tell us a little bit more about that? 

Alexa: So my house is Heqet. Heqet is the name of an Egyptian goddess of frogs. So the house theme is frogs, which is so random and funny. It’s wonderful. I love that kind of “off the beaten trail” [culture] of our house. Nightshade, [another house at Sora], they have more students whose interests lie in technology, such as building computers or coding. And then there’s Paragon. The Paragon house is composed of students who are so bright and full of information and willing to share everything. It’s so cool. And Thornwood is full of artists. They’re “off the beaten trail” in an abstract fashion, like in philosophizing. It all works so well together.

It’s cool seeing someone get absorbed into the energy of the house. You don’t feel like a new student for very long.

John: These houses seem like a way for you as a student to meet and build relationships with other students who are similar to you in their interests and strengths. 

Alexa: Yeah, something that I love to see is when new people will join the house. They didn’t work well in the public school system. They had a harder time making friends. Or they weren’t challenged enough. There was one new student who joined. He started out really quiet. [But] he got more adjusted, and now he’s totally in the swing of things. He’s also making his silly, sarcastic comments, interesting queries. It’s cool seeing someone get absorbed into the energy of the house. You don’t feel like a new student for very long.

John: Zooming out now, is there anything that surprised you about your experience at Sora?

Alexa: When I joined there was a lot of change. It was cool being part of the people giving feedback about what works better for students–what we like more, what we like less–seeing [the staff] design a new website

John: How did that make you feel?

Alexa: I felt listened to. My voice was heard. I’m not just a voice in the crowd. I’m a student they’re going to pay attention to. Every week on Fridays, there is a Roadmap meeting. That’s actually where I voiced my concerns. The faculty will jump into a voice channel, and any student that wants to can join. Ultimately it’s a space where students can voice any concerns, questions, [or] feedback that they have noticed. This happens every single week, so they can get active feedback from the community. 

John: Tell me about what you’ve learned during your time at Sora.

Alexa: I think something that I have learned with Sora is keeping track of my own time and my own responsibilities. I’ve been managing my own time. I’ve been keeping track of projects I need to turn in. I am responsible for my own work and effort. It’s helped me understand myself–how I work, how to keep myself accountable, how to work with teachers. If I need extra time, being able to reach out well.

John: Those are huge life skills that you’re going to be able to take with you, not only into college but also through your career.

Alexa: In my junior year I took some college classes. So I have an understanding of how college classes work. It felt really good with Sora. That same type of structure kept going. It makes me feel a lot less nervous about college because it feels familiar. It doesn’t feel like an entirely new type of learning structure. Sora has such a similar structure [to college] that everything kind of carries over. The way they educate feels so much more professional, and they treat their students like adults. 

John: While we’re talking about college, have you been accepted anywhere yet?

Alexa: I have. I’ve been accepted into the honors program at Coastal Carolina University. And I’m going into Statistics. 

John: Is there anything that you want to say to those who might be considering Sora?

Alexa: I think connecting with the students and the teachers is so important to be able to learn and grow in the community. So much of the school is about being able to present everything that you learn and being able to share that. 

Interested in Sora for Your Student?

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