When we reached out to VHS alumni Nasser Ghazi to ask him about his VHS experience, he told us, “To this day, I call VHS the single greatest learning experience of my life. It led me to get my bachelor’s degree in physics. Since then I am currently in France completing my master’s degree in physics. I can honestly say VHS helped me overcome one of the darkest periods of my life.”
We were incredibly humbled by Nasser’s generous words, and also curious to learn more about how we helped him during his time as a VHS student. So we asked, and Nasser shared. We are grateful for the opportunity to now share his words with the VHS community. With our deepest respect and admiration, here is Nasser’s story.
After living my full childhood and adolescence between the United States and Canada, my family decided to move back to Lebanon in 2013. My three brothers are U.S. citizens, so they stayed in the U.S. as I moved to Lebanon with my parents.
I do not have U.S. nor Canadian citizenship (neither did my parents at the time—they do now) so I had to accept being in Lebanon and dealing with the culture shock. I did not speak Arabic, I had no friends, I was devastated that my brothers were no longer with me, and I had to deal with the culture shock alone.
When I left Canada I had completed Grade 11 secondary studies in Quebec. In Lebanon, I may have had to do 2 or 3 more years of high school before being able to enrol in university courses.
In all honesty, it was the most I had learned in my life in a school year up until then. I learned how to be independent and was thinking for myself and at my own pace. My teachers were always very supportive and gave me constructive feedback all the time.
Nobody knew that I was dealing with depression, I myself did not even know at the time. During this time I also lost loved ones and experienced daily tensions that amounted to a constant state of conflict. I would escape my problems by putting in my headphones, going to an isolated mountainous landscape, and working on VHS courses.
I remember clearly the Grade 12 Physics, Biology, and English courses I took with VHS were so fun that I would wake up extra early just to go sit among the mountains and work on them and learn. I must note that the Biology 12 experiment part of the course truly captivated me. I once caught a large spider and saw how it reacted to light (confirming or denying the hypothesis). The whole experience was extremely fun.
After graduating from VHS, all my diplomas were validated by the Canadian embassy and therefore they were valid at an international level. I enrolled in university (they quickly accepted me) and started learning physics. I am now completing my masters in France, extremely grateful for the opportunities ahead of me.
I sometimes sit and reflect that without VHS I may have stopped my education level at the secondary level or I may have dropped out of school. VHS reignited my curiosity in learning and thinking for myself. I cannot stress how important it was that it was all at my own pace.
If it weren’t for laboratories or internships, I would say the whole world should move to online schooling, and VHS should be the standard. It is by far the most efficient, simple, and most supportive online schooling community. VHS has been nothing but a blessing to me.
Finally, I tell all my friends and family today that I will enroll my future children in Virtual High School when the time comes, because I know that they will definitely learn from the experience.