Student Interview: How the Minerva Baccalaureate is Preparing me for College

 

Martin “Trey” Willoughby III is an inaugural class student of the Minerva Baccalaureate at Laurel Springs School.

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 Laurel Springs Student Trey Willoughby from Charleston, South Carolina

How did you come to find out about the Minerva Baccalaureate? What went into the decision to join the program this Fall of 2020?

My family and I decided that we did not want to return to my former school due to Covid-19’s impact on the learning experience. We researched online school options and discovered that Laurel Springs School had an excellent reputation. When we learned about the Minerva Baccalaureate program, we decided that it would be great to have a combination of self-paced learning and highly interactive online discussions.

How do the idiosyncrasies of the Minerva Bacc at LSS impact your learning experience?

I have a more efficient school day now compared to before, with a focus on in-depth learning and applying the knowledge versus just studying to get a good grade. The interactive sessions and small group discussions give me more opportunities to practice my communication skills. I am more motivated to have clearer goals and master content.

In what ways does the program resemble a growth challenge? How is it extending your thinking?

I have found that being prepared to contribute to each online class is quite challenging. Knowing that I will have to be ready at any time to answer a question and that I will need to contribute to discussions has taken some practice. However, I really enjoy it because I am getting a deeper level of understanding of the material, by hearing different points of view. I think this will really help me in the future. The Minerva Baccalaureate program is extending my thinking by allowing me to interact with experienced teachers who take the time to help us think deeper about the material.

What is your take on the flexibility, personalized learning, and relationships you’ve discovered at Laurel Springs School?

Throughout the entire process, the Laurel Springs staff has made me feel very welcomed and at home in a new learning environment. Everyone has been encouraging and helpful to me in my transition to a brand new way of learning. I enjoyed getting to choose from a great list of courses for my elective studies. The online platform and organized approach to my assignments have been very helpful. My counselor and teachers have been very supportive and interested in my development. I have also enjoyed meeting other students from around the country.

What is your overall impression of the Minerva Baccalaureate experience at Laurel Springs School?

I really like the technology platform and the online Minerva approach. I am super excited to be part of this innovative learning path, which I believe will be more commonplace in the future. I am thankful that I can experience this, and I believe it will make me a better college student one day. Lastly, I am part of a competitive tennis academy and the flexibility of Laurel Springs is helping me manage my commitment to being a top student and a national level tennis player.

Minerva’s approach is an interdisciplinary one. How do you see the curriculum of each individual course overlapping and connecting to one another?

Minerva’s approach helps me make connections between classes by using some big concepts that can be linked with all my classes. During each class, we talk about LOs (Learning Outcomes) and these can be related to all different kinds of material and subject matters. This helps me think more deeply about each class and its content.

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Building upon the best in contemporary high school curricula, the Minerva Baccalaureate is a transformative four-year program that teaches essential skills across disciplines. The program blends self-paced coursework with engaging peer-based class time, offering the advantages of both individualized and fully active learning techniques. Students learn in a fast-paced format that interweaves core subjects to accelerate understanding, capability, and growth.