The Alumni Series features testimonials and interviews given by recent graduates of WillowWood School. In this post, Connor discusses how his time at WillowWood School helped him overcome personal challenges and allowed him to develop into an amazing human!
1. How did WillowWood help you achieve your goals?
Before WillowWood I went to a school that was terrible at accommodating my needs and disabilities. At WillowWood I had all the support I needed to succeed. Being surrounded by people who had a real understanding of what I dealt with made life much easier for me.
2. How did teachers at WillowWood help you improve your language and math skills?
Having a math teacher who would give me support during my shortcomings rather than
chastising me for them helped me succeed in that course. Being able to seek help outside of class made it so that I never felt like there was nothing I could do if I didn’t understand the work.
3. Did you make friends with students at WillowWood?
When I first arrived at WillowWood I quickly found a small group of friends that I became very close with, and still continue to be. Even among other male friend groups, I find that we are exceptionally close. However, even after two years of isolation due to COVID-19, once we came back to school, I was still able to make new friends with people I’d barely interacted with before. By the time I graduated, I was friends with most people in my grade and the grade below me.
4. How did the teachers help/make you feel during your time at WillowWood?
You’d be hard-pressed to find another school with teachers like the ones at WillowWood. Not once did any of them ever feel intimidating or hard to approach. They are all incredibly grounded, supportive, and genuinely fun people. I felt like I was able to make a connection with a teacher even if I never had any classes with them.
5. What school are you going to now? What are you studying there? What year of study are you in? If you are not attending a college or university, tell us what you are up to.
I’m going to be taking a year off of school. I want to spend time exploring my creative passions, like music, art, and writing. I hope to also spend that year helping younger students with learning disabilities like my own to understand their disabilities and learn how to work around them, both at WillowWood and with a previous teacher from when I was younger. Once my gap year is over, I plan to study film in Japan.
6. Describe a memorable moment at WillowWood.
My entire final year was essentially one big memorable moment. When I started at this school, I was very quiet and self-isolating. Covid had also prevented me from branching out at all. During my last year, I challenged myself to do everything the school had to offer, and I succeeded. However, if I had to pick one highlight, I would have to say it was the school play.
7. Describe a time when WillowWood teachers or staff were really there for you.
I was experiencing a lot of self-doubt in my relationships with others for much of my final year. There were moments when I got so freaked out I would leave class and hide in the washroom without saying anything. During that time, one of my teachers really helped me get past these feelings of self-doubt and understood when my work began to suffer because of it, as well as during the time it took me to catch up with my work afterward.
8. Anything else you would want people to know about WillowWood?
This school presents solutions to many common issues most kids face in school. Whether it be with challenges academically or socially, this school is the exact place to go to help with these issues.