A Growing Family Album at Agora

August 10, 2023 12:11 pm

As Agora approaches its 18th year of educating students in Pennsylvania, we’re growing our “family album” of graduates who have been with us from kindergarten. Often, we share stories of families who come to Agora midstream—their child needing to receive more than their brick-and-mortar school could provide. However, we also have inspiring stories of families who chose to begin with Agora. One such family, the Fontroy family—whose story we shared two years ago—celebrated the graduation of another member, Taylor, in June. One of the most inspiring lessons the Fontroys offer our community comes from their resolution to not let their ZIP code determine their education.


“I spent 13 years here, and I would recommend Agora highly,” said Taylor Fontroy. “They helped me to love learning, to engage more. And the schedule opened up even more opportunities outside of school.”


Taylor’s love of music has been evident since she was very young. Agora’s schedule, which unlike most brick-and-mortar schools, makes more efficient use of free time. It has allowed Taylor to also attend the Settlement Music School on Tuesday afternoons, where she practices violin. Singing has been a major part of her life as well, and she is looking forward to pursuing a future in the arts.


“I’m still singing. I sing everywhere. I would love to do something with music in my future. Agora allowed me the time to pursue this interest and extracurricular activities overall. Now I’m going to turn it into a career.”


From a trip to the aquarium to a virtual crossing of Japan, the Fontroy family always takes advantage of Agora Days Out. However, the classes are what have really helped to shape Taylor’s future. Agora works to equip graduates for the real world—a benefit Taylor experienced firsthand with the personal finance class she took.


“My classes are really engaging, but more than that, they have helped me prepare for my future. Literature, sociology and entrepreneurship really stand out, but when I saw that Agora had a personal finance class, I knew I had to take it. I learned about paychecks, how to write checks, the difference between debit and credit cards, how mortgages work, how to budget responsibly and so much more.”


Taylor will be headed to the Community College of Philadelphia in the fall to study music theory and music production. She’ll also immerse herself in classes such as performing arts, photography and sign language.


Taylor, who has made many friends across Pennsylvania over the years, really enjoyed learning about the different types of hobbies her classmates pursued, as well as the lives they led. Her chemistry class in particular fostered an environment for classmates to learn about each other. Taylor described working in groups and participating in chemistry bingo.


“It was interesting meeting peers from all different backgrounds. One of my classmates might have been working on a farm while another was driving a motorbike around their small town.”


As she heads off to college, Taylor has some advice to share with current Agora students. “Talk to your teachers. They are here to help you, and they really helped me. I was always checking in with them and with my guidance counselor too.”


Brenda Fontroy, whose son Tyler is a rising senior and will be the remaining Fontroy at Agora next year, agrees with her daughter. While Taylor had great relationships with her teachers and guidance counselor, Brenda kept in constant contact with their Family Coach.


“We’ve always had a great relationship with our Family Coaches,” said Brenda. “We’ve had two children graduate in back-to-back years, and our Family Coach was there through all of it. We are just so grateful to Agora for the experience they’ve given our family over the years.”


Taylor’s final words of wisdom include advice that students of any age can absorb. “Get your assignments complete on time, utilize calming rooms if anxious, and rely on students and teachers to help. It’s a great support system at Agora, and it helped me very much. Make the best use of your time and enjoy your experience. It goes by fast.”