Donte C. – Senior Success Story
He Came Looking for Safety and Discovered His Passion
Early on in Donte’s schooling, brick-and-mortar education served him well. He excelled from kindergarten to fourth grade, but by the time he completed fourth grade, his mother, Annette, saw the handwriting on the wall. Despite Donte’s performance, the environment surrounding his education became increasingly concerning for the Mount Airy family. And topping the list was worry for Donte’s safety—the changing neighborhood dynamics created a discomfort level, and Donte became a victim of bullying. His family knew that as safety concerns increased, Donte’s ability to focus fully on his studies decreased exponentially. By fourth grade, they decided they had given brick-and-mortar school more than a fair chance, and it was time for a critical change. Donte began his life as an Agora student as a fifth grader.
“He had good experiences in kindergarten through fourth grade, but it started going south, and I couldn’t monitor his safety all day,” said Annette. “So I pulled him out and looked into Agora. It didn’t take long for us to learn why Pennsylvania cannot take the cyber school option away. It makes such a difference for so many. Agora brought out great things in Donte.”
Part of what makes Donte’s story with Agora unique and inspiring is the way he discovered a passion that likely will provide his career path. Inspiration came to Donte through his experience adjusting to the cyber learning model, then evolving how he utilized that model to set and meet his academic goals. Because he was very familiar with technology, that aspect of his switch to Agora wasn’t too hard for him. The bigger challenge of the cyber model for Donte was developing a greater self-reliance on managing his time, motivating himself and staying disciplined in his studies.
“To do these things, I had to learn how the mind works, how my mind worked,” said Donte. “I got to teach myself discipline and learn the psychology behind it—in this process, I fell in love with it. I learned that I loved psychology. Now, I’m going to college for psychology, and I want to become a therapist.”
Without the worries about safety, what others would think about him and how they would treat him, Donte found he had a whole new space to think and learn at Agora. Throughout his time at Agora, Donte was considered a class leader and hailed by his teachers as a huge asset to their classes due to his enthusiasm for learning, level of participation, engagement with peers and faculty, excellent attendance, and the way he led other students by his own example. In addition, Donte truly embraced the diversity of studies open to him at Agora, from the “basics” like math and science to opportunities to explore things like 3D design and topics connected with today’s digital world. He also took advantage of extracurricular activities, including many in-person events and virtual clubs that opened the door for him to form lasting friendships.
“Donte’s success is a result of his grit and hard work,” said Family Coach Jeannine Rogers. “It’s also a reflection of his dedicated Learning Coach and mother, Annette, who has been an advocate for Donte throughout his whole life.”
Needless to say, Donte and Annette are both champions of Agora and encourage families to consider whether making the switch is right for them. But they also caution people to avoid thinking that cyber school equates to an easier way of getting an education. Donte shared that when he switched, some of his friends were jealous. They thought cyber school would be a breeze, without hard work or challenges.
“The pandemic showed that virtual learning is not a joke,” said Donte. “So many kids who thought I’d have it easy at Agora found themselves struggling to adapt. It just goes to show that cyber school is an option that should always be there for those who need it. And sometimes the optimal solution is cyber school.”
Great things lie ahead for Donte, because he has the ambition to find and make opportunities, just like he did during his time with Agora.
“Agora helped me academically and helped me figure out my direction,” said Donte. “I’m going to college, and now I get to dive into my passion.”