A caring staff makes all the difference to learning, says one VAST education centre graduate who wants to be a professional photographer.
Brody Volk, 18, is one of 80 students who are graduating from VAST programs this year.
The graduates include those who pursued programs through remote centres.
More than 50 graduates participated in VAST grad ceremonies at the Capitol Theatre last week.
“I was excited when I found out last week that I graduated,” Volk said.
“It’s taken a long while to get here.”
Volk grew up in Port Alberni and attended Wood Elementary, EJ Dunn and Alberni District Secondary School.
He dropped out in Grade 11 and moved to Toronto to live with friends for a year before returning home to Alberni.
Volk wanted to return to school to complete his graduation requirements but chose VAST over ADSS.
“I didn’t want to be the old guy still hanging around the high school,” he said.
It took some time to settle in but once he did he took to school like a fish takes to water.
English was a challenge to complete and his favourite subject is math, he said.
Volk had to finish math, English and PE in six months so staying on top of school was the biggest challenge of the year, he said.
But VAST staff made the difference between graduating and not graduating, Volk said.
“People here don’t judge you,” Volk said. “The staff takes the time to get to know you and want to help you.”
Some staff went the extra mile to coax Volk to do the same.
“Lisa Fryer was my biggest supporter,” Volk said.
“She told me I could gradate and pushed, helped and encouraged me.”
Volk has always enjoyed photography and wants to pursue a career in professional photography.
He plans on starting his next journey at a college in Vancouver in March 2012.
“I’d like to be a fashion photographer, shoot weddings or even grad ceremonies,” Volk said.