JT, a junior at Elk Hill Staunton School, just wanted to be done with school. In the classroom, he was known for doing the bare minimum to get by. If a class didn’t have an SOL (Standards of Learning) test at the end of the semester, he didn’t see the point of taking it. When COVID-19 forced the school to move to distance learning, JT’s teachers worried about him. Without constant encouragement and reminders, would he fall behind? Or give up entirely? 


His teacher, Kristin Quinn, kept in touch as best she could. She emailed JT and her other students with information about their assignments and invited them to contact her with questions. She also texted parents and guardians to check in on her students and find out how things were going. To her delight, JT’s mom said he had been working hard and completing all his assignments. He’d decided he wanted to end the school year with a good GPA. “I told her I was proud of him,” Quinn said.


When JT encountered some technical problems with online learning, he didn’t give up, as he might have before. He reached out to his teacher, asked for help, and then found a workaround and emailed her his assignment. The skills he learned at Elk Hill Staunton School — including perseverance and self-reliance — helped him thrive in challenging circumstances. He discovered his internal motivation and has been “the essence of resilience,” Quinn said. “I’m very proud of what he has accomplished and see a bright future ahead of him as he continues down this motivated path.”