Archived Story

Grad’s experience with iQ Academy opens new future

Published 11:22am Wednesday, September 4, 2013

When Robyn Sorell moves her things into her new dorm room as a freshman at the University of Minnesota-Morris, she’ll meet a number of fellow students and make friends and memories that will last a lifetime.

Being face to face with so many new people might just be the biggest adjustment she has to make entering college.

Sorell, a resident of Sauk Centre, graduated from the iQ Academy in 2013 after a difficult experiences with traditional school. Bullying and the anxiety that followed made learning, an activity that Sorell loved, nearly impossible.

Entering her first year of high school, Sorell and her family didn’t know how she would ever graduate.

“I always loved school and that was really discouraging to me,” Sorell said. “It took a lot of self-searching and prayer to figure out where to go.”

That search landed her on a computer, enrolling with the iQ Academy run by the Fergus Falls School District. After making the adjustment to the online format, Sorell said she was able to put aside what had previously limited her education.

“I really found my place in the school. The teachers are all really amazing,” Sorell said. “You learn about them and they learn about you and it’s surprising how intimate it can feel. When you have them more than once you really learn. It’s like you’ve known them and have had them forever.”

While there were some problems to overcome with technology, Sorell said most of her classes worked well in the online format.

Other classes were an even greater success.

Sorell enjoyed many of her English classes with program manager and teacher Jen Thielke. Because Sorell’s schedule with the school was so flexible, she also found a job working at her local public library. Given a spark through her studies and her part-time job, Sorell enters the University of Minnesota – Morris with aspirations to study English and creative writing.

With more comfort and opportunity at iQ Academy, Sorell turned her education around, from not knowing how she would finish school to graduating in the top 10 percent of her class. When her senior year was over, Sorell joined the graduation ceremony at the Kennedy Secondary School in Fergus Falls and celebrated with some of her other classmates in attendance.

“I never would have imagined how great it could be at first. It was really just a last resort at the time,” Sorell said. “They really do what they can to help you I really had a great time. I’m more independent and better prepared for a college schedule because of working at home. It’s really been a blessing.”

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