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An Alternative High School Experience: The Story of Taylor





student taylor at her desk, who completed her high school diploma online and was able to play hockey full time

When Taylor Wenczkowski was a freshman at Spaulding High School, the young Rochester, NH resident was looking for a way to balance her responsibilities as a student and as a rising star on the hockey rink. Unable to find the time to do both at a high level, Wenczkowski decided to seek an alternative high school solution and enrolled as a full-time student at Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (VLACS). The rest is history in the making.

Today, the 17-year old is not only en route to getting a high school diploma but has also committed to play on the University of New Hampshire Women’s Hockey team as a member of the class of 2019. Wenczkowski said she owes much of her success in school-and on the hockey rink-to the flexibility of VLACS’ full-time online program.

When she was first starting to get serious about hockey, Wenczkowski said she could’ve either transferred to a school closer to her hockey program in Boston, MA, or found some other type of alternative high school opportunity. Upon learning that her hockey responsibilities would require a lot of travel, not to mention the time spent practicing and playing in games, she and her family determined VLACS was the way to go.

“My schedule was really busy and we traveled a lot, so we decided online school was the best option for me,” she said.

The process of transitioning from public school to online school was at first challenging for Wenczkowski, who started VLACS her sophomore year. Instead of relying upon teachers to do all the teaching, Wenczkowski said she had to learn to be actively involved in her own education.

“It was definitely different because I had to teach myself a little more and read through the lesson,” she said. “The teachers were there when I needed help and stuff. It was a good type of different.”

Wenczkowski said the fact that the VLACS online program allows for any time/ anywhere learning has helped her balance her studies and her hockey training over the years. The flexibility is so helpful that Wenczkowski said she has completed some of her work while sitting at the hockey rink, or on a ride to a game or practice. On most normal days, Wenczkowski said she normally prefers to do her work in the morning but has been known to complete assignments in the evening as well.

The flexibility of VLACS’ online learning program proved even more helpful this past year when Wenczkowski was in Boston training with the Boston Shamrocks, an elite women’s hockey club. For students who are in a similar situation as she was during her freshman year, Wenczkowski said she would definitely recommend a program like VLACS.

“It’s proven really helpful for me,” she said. “I was able to do it anytime and anywhere.”

Wenczkowski isn’t the only student that has found VLACS’ online school program to be helpful. Fellow New Hampshire resident Isaac Walker has also leaned heavily on VLACS to balance schooling and sports, and as a result of his success, will attend Harvard this fall-read Isaac’s story here.

Check out our admission process for full-time students to learn more about how we can help your child strike a balance between work and play. Our unique approach to competency-based education is intended to help support students as they transition to online learning. Enroll today to start earning credits toward your high school diploma.

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