My name is Orion and a sophomore in my second year at Summit Atlas.
I am proud to be one of Atlas’ founding students. My mom learned about the school from our principal, Ms. B., who was handing out flyers in our neighborhood before the school opened in 2017. Ms. B told my mom about what Atlas was going to stand for—an opportunity to have an individualized learning experience, a supportive community, and a pathway to college. After that, I attended some of the info sessions that Summit held at the King County Library – I remember they had some treats for the El Salvadorian bakery, and Ms. B was so passionate! I was sold on Summit Atlas from the beginning, before school even started.
To be honest, my first year at Atlas was kind of hard for me. I’d never been to a school with technology and discussion-based learning, and it took me a little while to get used to using Summit’s online platform. At my old school, teachers would hand out sheets and assigned tasks and say, “This needs to be done by this time.” At Atlas, we’ll talk about what we’re working on in class, and it’s a lot of group work.
My teachers really helped me adjust to this new way of learning, and now I really love it. We have “PLT blocks” which stands for personalized learning time, where we can step aside and work with a teacher or work groups if we need to. Here, our teachers help us prepare for what it’s going to be like in college, where there isn’t just one kind of way to learn.
Time management can be a challenge for me. This year, my mentor is Mr. Wooddruff, who is also my AP Psychology and film studies teacher. He’s a very down-to-earth person, and I can confide in him. With Mr. Wooddruff’s help, I’m getting better at managing my time. We go over what I have to do, and make a plan so that I can fit everything in.
When I graduate high school, I want to go to an arts college. I am an artist and my family is full of artists. My grandpa and his siblings had a band, and my Dad is an audio engineer—the wizard behind the vocals. My mom is a preschool teacher, but she draws. I’m really inspired by anime and participated in Inktober last year. For the whole 31 days of October I made an ink drawing and posted it on social media. At Summit, my talent for art is valued. I recently designed a political art poster that is now hung up in the hallway where everyone can see it. When I talk about art, my principal and my teachers support my dreams, and I know they’ll help me find the right college for after graduation. I’m so glad that I chose a high school where I can be who I am, get help where I need it, and focus on my passion for art.