Laila Valentine ’21

Laila Valentine ’21

Oct. 2020

Hometown: Mebane, NC

Home High School: Cedar Ridge High School

What's your favorite part of your job as an Online Ambassador?
My favorite part of my job as an Online Ambassador is advocating for the online program and getting to know students. When people apply to NCSSM, some are still not aware of what we do in the online program or that it even exists. I like helping people discover which program best fits their needs as a student.

What's your favorite part of NCSSM Online?
My favorite part of NCSSMO is that we get offered similar if not the same opportunities as residential students. Even though we don't meet in a traditional classroom, we still get to come together as a community which is really special.

What's the biggest challenge you've encountered in the Online program?
The biggest challenge that I've encountered was in mid-March when all of my home high school classes were moved to an online setting. I was in the process of moving and had no internet access for a week or so. I was taking two classes in the spring, so on top of my other classes, I started to fall behind and I wasn't sure how to go about catching back up.

What's an "aha" moment you've experienced in one of your Online classes?
An "aha" moment that I've experienced is realizing that I am not as technologically savvy as I thought. There are some programs that teachers have asked us to use that were a learning experience for me. If we had assignments using these particular sites/programs, I would come to class with questions prepared.

What are two of your greatest interests or passions?
I have always had an interest in medicine and plan on entering college as a neuroscience major. I want to remodel the health care system as a whole in terms of disparities between races as well as low-income communities and rural areas. I am very passionate about music! I love to sing, write, perform, and listen to music. This year I am very excited to co-direct my home school's A Capella group.

If you had one year of freedom, what would you want to do?
If I had one year of freedom, I would travel! I have always wanted to explore the world, so I would spend my time doing that. Ideally, I would go to all 50 states in the first month or so along with Canada and Mexico. Then, I would go to Brazil or Chile for a month. I would spend 2 months in Africa, 1 in Australia, and 1 in Asia. Then, for the remainder of the year, I would spend time in Europe.

How are you coping during the pandemic?
In order to cope during the pandemic, I have been documenting, taking daily walks, discovering new music/TV shows, coloring, decorating, and checking in on my friends and family.

What are you looking forward to in the coming school year?
This school year, I am looking forward to adapting to this new form of learning and making the best of it. Though our senior year may look a little different, I want safety to remain a priority in hopes that we will all get to see each other again soon.

What words of wisdom do you have for Online students?
I advise online students to take advantage of any opportunity they can to better themselves through this program. Try to challenge yourself in class, speak out in discussions, get involved in clubs, attend any on-campus events, and make friends! You get the opportunity to meet people from all over the state whether it's prospective students or alumni. Though this is an academic program, there are lots of amazing chances to build the NCSSM community as a whole.

Why should prospective students and their families consider NCSSM Online?
Prospective students and families should consider NCSSMO because their student will be offered various opportunities to go above and beyond, as well as the chance to explore their interests while still in high school. The online program is one of a kind and caters to so many different student’s needs. If you feel like NCSSM can offer you something but you still want to be involved at your home high school with some sort of special program or you just are not ready to leave home, you should definitely consider online.