- Written by Tatiana Alba, Springhouse Learner -
Once upon a time, there was an 11-year-old girl who lived in Kansas City named Tati. Tati had been home-schooled with self-led learning her whole life but longed for more. For years, she wanted to go to school, but there were no schools around her that understood that her worth wasn’t in a test score and would give her the autonomy over her learning that she experienced while being home-schooled. She unwillingly had to accept that she likely would not be able to find a school that would fit her educational and developmental needs.
Years past, and her mother graduated from chiropractic school, and she and her family were headed to the Blue Ridge Mountains to buy a chiropractic office near Floyd, Virginia. When she arrived, she found out that the homeschooling laws in Virginia were much stricter than the ones in Missouri. At that moment, she knew she would have to go to public school, and she loathed even the thought of it.
One day, she was at Blue Mountain School’s orientation for her little brother. There, she got to talking to one of the teachers who told her about a small alternative school hidden in the town of Floyd called Springhouse Community School. The more she learned about this school, the more she knew this was the place for her. The next day, Tati went to the school website and immediately looked at the tuition and, upon doing so, she was filled with dread. She knew her family could not afford the tuition and feared it would have been too late in the school year for them to have enough financial aid left. And with this information, she wept. She wept because she had finally found a place that recognized students are not a one-size-fits-all curriculum or a test score. They are young people with passions and aspirations who are all at different levels of learning and need a community that will support them in growing up. But she might be denied this, not because she wasn’t a good fit, but because of something as superficial as money. Nonetheless, she had hope that there would be enough financial aid and set up a visit with the school.
Upon visiting, she was amazed and inspired by what she had witnessed. But she didn’t want to get her hopes up. During her visit, the dreaded question had come up: What is the financial aid situation? And to her relief, Jenny Finn, the Head of School, explained to her that they have a tuition discount system because the school strongly believes that money should not be a barrier for those who want to come.
The following week, Tati went to school for the first time in the fifteen years she had been alive and has never looked back!