This archived article was written by: Emma Campbell
Class of 2019, that’s when I was supposed to graduate high school, but I am in enrolled in college fall semester 2017. The main reason for the advancement in my education was the three years I spent in the Philippines. I moved there a month into my seventh grade year and lived there until the end of my ninth grade year.
I went to the Stonyhurst Southville International School during my first six months in the Philippines and it was nothing like I had ever experienced before. The education system is different from the standpoint that, until a couple years ago, it was normal to graduate high school at 16 and go to college.
The testing is different, graduation requirements are nothing like the United States and the school year is June to April. My siblings and I were the only Americans at the school and it was obvious we were used to a different system. As hard as it was for me to attend a school in the Philippines, it taught me how to adapt odd situations and I have been using that skill ever since.
When school got out April 2014, my family moved and we stopped attending the international school. My parents decided that after our experience with the international school, it was best to home school. During summer break, we looked for private teachers, since my parents were busy with work to teach us. We found two teachers: Teacher Rod and Teacher Hivy. In the Philippines, Mrs. and Mr. are not used. Teachers are either Sir, Ma’m or just Teacher.
This was an even stranger situation than the international school. Monday and Wednesday they taught from 9 a.m. to noon and Tuesday,Thursday and Friday they taught from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Teacher Rod taught math and science, and Teacher Hivy taught English and History; this was my schooling for two years. The plan, if we stayed in the Philippines, was that I would take the GED to get my high school diploma once I turned 16. Then in July 2016, my family moved back to the U.S.
We moved to Orem and I started at Orem High as a sophomore. Throughout first semester, I talked to my counselor about how my international credits would transfer over. We came to the conclusion in November that Alpine School District would not take my international credits and I would have to do ninth grade over. That would mean summer school, and maybe online classes, plus my already full-class schedule. I could graduate late or do what I had planned on doing in the first place, take the GED and graduate early. I chose the latter against my counselor’s advice . Many people tried to talk me out of it, but I had my mind set.
Right before winter break, I was pulled out of the public school system and started at a mandatory adult education class. It took me three days to finish the class and then I was cleared to take the GED. I took it in the beginning of February and passed with college readiness and then went on to take the ACT in April. I applied to Utah State Eastern as soon as I got my ACT scores.
So, here I am in college at the age of 16, adapting to yet another abnormal situation.