MaryBeth Healy

Hear from Jolie how participating at RLC aided her on her path to sucess:

I was an honors-track kid my entire academic career – I got into the higher-level classes, I participated in STEM programs outside of school, I read nonstop, I would have lengthy discussions with my grandmother about any subject. When I entered high school, however, I noticed a shift in the school system’s attitude. As a person who focused on learning a subject, loving the study of it, going above and beyond for my studies, I found the obsessive point-counting and test-taking to be ridiculous. My peers focused on counting each point, doing endless math to calculate how much they would need to earn on the midterm to end with an “A” grade in the class to end with a 4.0 grade point average for the year. In the first semester of my freshman year, I worked hard to prove that I belonged in the honors classes, running myself into the ground while working toward endless numbers on my report card. At the beginning of the second semester, my father passed away unexpectedly. I could not bring myself to concentrate or to even begin to motivate myself to begin to study. My grades took a hit, as did my self-esteem.

It seemed impossible to dig myself out of this rut so I began to search for other options, finding Raritan Learning Cooperative along the way. Through the summer, I convinced myself that I should try public school again, that it may work out in the end. At the end of the first marking period of my sophomore year, I realized that public school was simply not cutting it for me anymore. I took the plunge and began to attend RLC — what I now consider to be the best decision I’ve ever made. 

Since transferring to RLC, I’ve made lifelong bonds with my peers and mentors, I’ve been able to devote more time and energy to my sport as a figure skater and to jumpstart my career as a skating coach, and I was able to start college years earlier than I had ever suspected. I began to attend classes twice a week at Raritan Valley Community College that spring, liberated by a flexible schedule and understanding and supportive mentors at RLC. I made the decision to graduate RLC that year and attend RVCC full time in the fall. While leaving my peers and mentors that I had grown to regard as my family was unimaginably difficult, they helped me transition to college life and supported my ambitions. The act of choosing to attend RLC set me up on a path for success and taught me responsibility, flexibility, self-motivation, and most importantly, the skills needed to step away from the norm and channel my thirst for knowledge directly into my life, rather than wasting away at a conventional school.

–Jolie, 2019