Meet Kristin Legault-Donkers! Kristin is a former Virtual High School student, a current university student, and a published author. During her high school career, Kristin completed several courses with VHS, including
- GLC2O – Career Studies
- GWL3O – Designing Your Future
- EWC4U – Writer’s Craft
- MCF3M – Functions & Applications
- MDM4U – Mathematics of Data Management
Kristin reflects on the role online learning played in her education:
“My experience with Virtual High School has been phenomenal. Due to my mental health problems, I missed many days of high school because I was in the hospital or unable to leave the house due to my anxiety and depression. Virtual High School allowed me flexibility in completing my courses, and with this flexibility, I was able to succeed. Because I could start and finish a Virtual High School course at any time, I took several of my courses through Virtual High School during the summer. This allowed me to focus on only one subject at a time and to throw myself completely into it until I finished the course. I credit my success throughout high school to the opportunities I’ve had to take courses through Virtual High School.”
In one of Kristin’s Virtual High School classes, Writer’s Craft, the idea to write children’s books on mental health came to mind. One of the assignments in Writer’s Craft was to write and illustrate a children’s book. “I loved this,” Kristin says, “and I often thought about writing more children’s books after I had finished the course. And, last year, I finally did!” Kristin now has a series of four children’s books on mental health:
- Zack, The Very Busy Kid
- Zack’s Moods Are Like a Rollercoaster
- Zoey Has Worry Thoughts
- Zoey Has Very Glum Days
In these books, Kristin discusses topics such as depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and bipolar disorder in ways that children can easily understand. Within each book, Kristin depicts what each illness is, suggests coping strategies, emphasizes the importance of counseling, and much more. “Because of my personal struggles with mental illness,” Kristin says, “I’ve decided that I want to use my experiences to help others, through my books, through my education, and eventually through my career.”
Kristin is currently in her second year at King’s University College, pursuing an honors degree in psychology. She hopes to earn her Ph.D. in clinical psychology so that she can become a psychologist and open up her own practice. In her free time, Kristin enjoys watching movies, writing, volunteering, going for walks, and spending time with her friends and family.
Kristin is a true inspiration to individuals struggling with mental illness. Through the work of individuals like Kristin, we are able to progress as a society in understanding, discussing, treating, and eliminating the stigma surrounding mental illness. Kudos, Kristin! You have made us all very proud.