She refuses to let adversity define her.
High school was a challenging time for Sophia Colasuonno. At times, her attendance suffered. An offer to attend Pembina Trails Alternative High School (AHS) was exactly what Sophia needed to reach her full potential.
The now 20 year old, remembers her first day of classes like it was yesterday.
“I think you almost find a new version of yourself here. They are so encouraging whether you are struggling at home or you need a job, they will be there for you. If you need help with anything they are there,” said Colasuonno.
She graduated with a high school diploma in 2018. To celebrate the major achievement, students gathered on the football turf for a graduation cap toss.
“It didn’t feel real. I did it! I always thought this wouldn’t happen for me, but then it did.”
After graduation, Sophia spent time working with a dog rescue and quickly realized her true passion lies with helping animals. She now has her sights set on becoming a veterinary technician.
“I know what I want to do. I am that much more determined to get it done and get on with my life. I am motivated and know where my path is going.”
She plans to enroll in a two-year program at Red River College. Part of the entrance requirements, are chemistry and math credits which she is now working towards with the help from teachers at AHS.
“Sophia’s determination is infectious, she knows what she wants and is working hard for it, she is an excellent role model for other students,” shared Katherine Barclay, Pembina Trails Alternative High School principal. “We are proud of her, and the path she is on.”
The school’s education team is doing everything they can to support this career dream. Staff are in the process of setting Sophia up with a work experience at a veterinary clinic, and even shaping math assignments around medical doses to give her experience that will relate to her chosen field.
When staff say the “door is always open,” they mean it. Sophia is the longest attending student at AHS, but is in good company. The school also has three other extremely motivated graduates who have returned to upgrade courses.
“We are here to support students from one stage to the next. We believe helping students attain their career aspirations gives them hope and purpose. Aligning their studies with their career plans equates to meaningful learning and promising futures,” said Barclay.
Pembina Trails Alternative High School first opened in 2016.