Agora Alum. Receives Top Honors
Time to Lawyer Up and Up and… Agora Alum Graduates at the Top of Her Law School Class
Samantha (Medasie) Walter had educational goals when she transitioned to Agora in 2012, as most 9th graders do. However, she didn’t quite have a vision as to how those goals would translate into dreams, and how those dreams would turn into some of the most significant achievements of her young life. But, without a doubt, they have! A proud graduate of Agora’s class of 2016, Samantha recently graduated in the top 10% of her class at Penn State Law School, passed the bar exam, and started her career with a law firm in Pittsburgh. Along her journey to these great accomplishments, Samantha had incredible experiences engaging with lawyers on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., working on the Penn State Law Review, and more. She also married her husband, who she met in elementary school, at Penn State, a story that upholds her belief that, in addition to providing an education, school is a place for building solid, lasting relationships. This is an experience she first experienced during her four years at Agora.
One such relationship was with her Agora Family Coach Coordinator, Pam Keth. Pam was assigned as her Family Coach when Samantha first enrolled and has remained in contact with her and her family ever since. Like all Agora coaches, Pam helped the Medasie family with the transition and then continued to work in partnership with them to help Samantha realize her potential and set goals for her time at Agora and beyond. Pam could see quickly that Samantha was a remarkable student and would succeed in anything she put her mind to. As her Coach and friend, Pam made a commitment to supporting that success. For Samantha, the relationship with Pam is one she values to this day.
“We’ve always had a great relationship and hit it off on a personal level,” said Samantha. “Pam has been such a huge cheerleader for me, and it was great to have a family coach who was local and who I’d see at testing, or if I just had concerns. In-person and virtually, she was that rock and a really positive factor in my experience at Agora. We still stay connected, she reaches out to catch up, and she’s Facebook friends with my mom and me.”
Samantha also found unique opportunities to build relationships with her Agora peers. She especially appreciated that, whether other students were near or far, the online community brought them together, allowing students to find people with whom they had a lot, or special things, in common.
“At brick-and-mortar high schools a lot of relationships are filled with drama. So, it was nice to have some distance and not have the stress of being in person day to day, every day. I met lots of people in Agora classes, we talked remotely, and I made friends that I still stay in touch with to this day. I think it’s cool that you can keep relationships in your own town and still meet people outside of it.”
“I want people to know that my time at Agora really set me up for success.”
There were many other experiences, opportunities, and attributes at Agora that Samantha credits with helping to set her up for a successful future. One at the top of her list was the academic challenge. Samantha’s brick-and-mortar school in a small town in Blair County, Pennsylvania didn’t offer A.P. courses or other types of challenging curriculum she felt would prepare her for college. After a trial period at Agora, she realized the academic challenge potential and decided to stay on as a ninth grader.
Another Agora differentiator—and support in her college success—for Samantha were the “lessons” it taught her in terms of managing her time and being the ultimate decisionmaker in what she did and didn’t do to advance her education. When Samantha’s college classes were taken online during the COVID-19 pandemic, she—and her professors—noticed the advantage she gained from online schooling at Agora.
“An undergrad professor commented to me that cyber-school students are always so much more prepared. This is because we were expected to manage our time, pursue our goals, get things done, and learn to be independent.”
Third on Samantha’s list are the extracurricular opportunities Agora put in front of her.
“My fear that Agora would only be about academics wasn’t realized—I had so many options open to me. I was able to be active locally and with my Agora peers outside of my community.”
During her time at Agora, Samantha demonstrated initiative that earned her Agora’s Shining Star Award—presented to a graduating student who has shown a special commitment in developing a leadership role. During her four years with Agora, Samantha showed leadership by helping to start and grow clubs including the Agora Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Chapter and Agora Impacts Many (AIM), a community service club. Because of these leadership activities—coupled with her being a role model for educational drive and excellence—Samantha has surely left her influential mark on our Agora community.
“Agora was honestly the best decision I could have made. I really loved my time and would recommend it to anyone.”