STUDENT VOICES

A Life-Changing Educational Experience

Education has always been an extremely important thing for my family and me. We believe that education is power and one of the keys to becoming a successful member of society. When I was a freshman, I began Summit Learning and it did not feel like a good fit. As a new high school student, I felt that I needed a traditional classroom set-up. Summit was a different way of learning than I was used to, and I was not ready for that kind of change. I needed what I thought was a “normal” high school experience. So, I did just that. I left Summit Learning and went into the traditional classroom for my freshman and sophomore years. It was a good call for me personally. I was not ready to thrive in a personalized learning environment just yet, but when I got to my junior year, everything changed. 

I’m obtaining my Associate’s Degree as a high school student through Greater Johnstown High School and Pennsylvania Highlands Community College joint program. Through this program, my junior and senior years are split with some class time at the Penn Highlands campus. As a student who is involved in many extracurriculars as well as having a heavy academic load, it was going to be hard for me to have the traditional classroom in my life. The type of learning that the traditional classroom has to offer has more to do with how everyone learns rather than how individuals learn. This was not going to be in my favor during my junior and senior years, so I decided to give Summit Learning another look.

I was nervous enrolling for my junior year. It was something completely new, and my previous experience was overwhelming, so I did not know what to expect. I went into my junior year with a very different attitude than I did during my freshman year. I was determined to succeed with the platform. I needed Summit Learning to make my education more manageable and help me prepare for college. It did just that. 

This past school year my teachers prepared me for college in a way I did not know was possible. I had always considered myself to be a good student in comparison to others, but Summit Learning did not leave much room for comparing myself with others. The program placed the focus on personalized goals rather than what my classmates were doing. Summit allowed me to go ahead of where I needed to be as long as I was ready and had all of my other work finished. Surprisingly, Summit did not add to my plate of things to do but rather made it clear for me what I needed to get done that day. It offered me structure and accountability, ensuring that I completed my work in a timely manner. 

With Summit, I finished all of my individual work and content assessments in early March. This meant I would have a lot more time to focus on Penn Highlands, Summit Projects, clubs, sports, and my personal life. The week after I had finished my individual work for Summit, Covid-19 hit and shut down our school like it did the rest of the country. Now, I had a new challenge, learning from home. Thankfully, Summit allowed me to get most of my work done early in the year, so when we were required to stay home there was not much I needed to do to pass my junior year. This made an incredibly scary time less stressful. 

Thanks to Summit Learning, I am excited to start my senior year and challenge myself academically. I love being in Summit now because it challenges me in ways that I was not ready to deal with as a freshman. Summit also gives me the freedom to make a difference and better myself outside of the classroom. I cannot wait for another year of Summit and to see what opportunities my senior year of high school brings. 

About the author

Mia Jordan
Mia Jordan
Mia Jordan is a high school student at Greater Johnstown High School in Johnstown, PA.