LV student juggles two jobs, still on pace to graduate early
LAPEER, Michigan – Dominic VanHulle is not your average junior in high school. While many students are recharging their batteries over spring break, prepping for the stretch run to summer, Dominic will have turned the page on his junior year.
“With virtual, you can go at your own pace,” said the 16-year-old, who enrolled in Lapeer Virtual last year after transferring from Davison. “I like to go fast, that’s just how I am. Sometimes you have to slow it down a bit, but most of the time it’s at a faster pace.”
He wanted his school time to be fast and focused, so he could have time for other things – lots of other things – without any of the “drama” that sometimes occurs in the life of a high schooler. “It’s strictly school, no distractions,” he said.
Dominic is a full-time virtual student who is holding down two jobs at local restaurants and is in the midst of starting his own graphic design business. He just had it registered last month. The flexibility offered by Lapeer Virtual allows him to not only earn a couple paychecks, but to focus on his future – one he hopes will be in the creative arts. He is currently taking six classes, including marketing and graphic design and chemistry.
While not all students thrive in the self-starter, independent space offered by virtual learning, it fits Dominic like a glove. He said that because he is ultimately responsible for his own work, it’s smart to settle into a daily routine to fend off the perils of procrastination.
“If I just tell myself, ‘oh, I’ll do it in a little bit…and then in a little bit,’ then I will eventually be behind,” he said.
Dominic doesn’t perceive the work to be any more or less difficult than what he experienced in the traditional classroom, once he cleared the high hurdle of time management.
“Honestly, you just have to have the structure and the motivation to get it done,” he said.
He said he has all the support he needs from the program, including access to the virtual lounge at the Center for Innovation and teachers who are assigned to him, including Lapeer Virtual Supervisor Michele Pfeiffer.
LCS Superintendent Matt Wandrie, who envisioned the virtual program as part of the District’s last strategic planning initiative, loves hearing stories about young people like Dominic taking advantage of these opportunities.
“When we started this program, we had students like Dominic in mind,” he said. “We wanted to create an academic program that treats students as individual learners, with specific needs and lifestyles.”
Dominic has plans to attend a four-year college after taking classes at a community college. He hopes to study graphic design and audio engineering.