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Briar Nolet. Photo by Tim Leyes.

Meet Briar Nolet, a grade 12 Virtual High School student who is a remarkably successful dancer and actor. She has taken courses with VHS throughout her high school career and will soon earn her Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) with us. Briar currently plays Richelle on The Next Step, a dance series that airs on the Family Channel. She has also starred in several commercials and was in the 2016 movie Blood Hunters. Inspired by her father who was a three-time Olympic gymnast, Briar began gymnastics at the age of seven and has been competitively dancing ever since. She has been on The Next Step since its second season and has just finished filming season six. 

Prior to switching to fully online courses with VHS, Briar attended a bricks-and-mortar high school in Oakville, Ontario. She always completed at least one online course during each high school semester as she would have to leave early to go to dance every day. Once she entered grade 11, she was on tour with the show and her life became too busy to fit schooling within the traditional hours. Switching to online schooling allowed Briar to continue with her high school career, which is something she was determined to do despite how busy her exciting career choice became. “The classroom doesn’t stop just because you’re not there,” Briar says, but VHS is always available. Having 18 months to complete her courses is crucial for Briar as her schedule is always changing, and there are times when there simply is no time for school. Briar has offered this reflection on her studies with VHS:

“VHS is very convenient for a really active lifestyle … I found that it helped me maintain the marks I wanted to get out of high school with as well … I really liked how interactive the teachers were. If you have a question they get back to you right way. As well as the marking, they are really on top of it…all the lessons are really great. I thought being out of school would be harder without a teacher in front of you to ask questions, but it actually turned out that it was easier for me.”

She is passionate about promoting education within her industry as she has seen many people struggle with balancing education and their careers. Briar makes this telling comment: “You’re not guaranteed work so you could work for a week or two for the whole year, and then you won’t really have money to support yourself … Seeing people I know go through it, I knew I’ve always wanted to keep education open.” Briar wants to study business so that she has the background necessary to open a training centre or start a clothing line, while continuing to utilize the skills she has learned through acting and dancing.

So what’s “the next step” for Briar? She says she definitely wants to continue dancing and acting and hopes to move to California to pursue her career and education. After she finishes her OSSD, she will be looking into writing SATs and applying to UCLA. Most importantly, Briar says she wants to continue doing what she loves.

We are happy to hear that VHS has contributed so positively to Briar’s career and that she has been able to continue her education despite her busy schedule. Best wishes, Briar!

Visit www.briarnolet.com to learn more about Briar.