Student Spotlight: Earning the OSSD from South Korea
Sunny Cha is an 18-year-old VHS student working towards her Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). She was born in South Korea and at an early age moved to Vancouver, where she spent seven years attending elementary school and eventually became naturalized as a Canadian citizen after her mother passed the national citizenship test. Due to her father’s work commitments, Sunny’s family moved back to South Korea one week before her 12th birthday. She enrolled in an international school, a type of institution that offers one or more international curriculums rather than the local curriculum most students living in the region would study.
When she began high school, Sunny was diagnosed with depression and OCD. She found that her rigorous school schedule was extremely draining both physically and emotionally. With the support of her teachers and parents, Sunny decided to drop out of school in the 10th grade and focus on her health.
After undergoing intensive therapeutic and psychological care for several years, Sunny was introduced to Virtual High School.
“I saw VHS as an alternative path towards graduating high school and earning my diploma through a flexible schedule that I could manage around my irregular, weekly needs.”
Sunny has been enrolled at VHS for 16 months and is completing several courses with the goal of earning her OSSD on her own timeline. She has found her VHS teachers to be very supportive, especially in terms of the comedic creativity she injects into her communication and coursework. Sunny believes that creativity is responsible for paving the extra mile that separates a good assignment from an exceptional one. She approaches each assessment with strict boundaries she has set based on the expectations she is given, and she tries to make the content of her work as fun and creative as possible while still staying within those boundaries.
“My interactions with my teachers have also been spectacular. I hold a firm belief that the character of a teacher can make or break a student’s education, and from my experiences with VHS, my teachers have been protagonists. They evaluate their students impartially while at the same time, adapt to their students’ individual needs and (for me specifically) their characteristic oddities, jumping the hurdle standing between educator and teacher.”
Before VHS, Sunny’s typical school day involved a rigid 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. schedule that restricted her life in many ways. She now spends her typical school day studying for approximately five hours before using the remainder of her day to pursue hobbies, including writing detective fiction and perfecting her vanilla buttercream frosting. Sunny sums up her current VHS experience with this:
“Although I still have a long way to go towards earning my Ontario Secondary School Diploma, I’ll be darned if I can’t have fun getting there.”
We couldn’t agree more. Good luck in your courses, Sunny!