The experience that I had at SOAR Academy wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was scary at first, but then I adjusted to what I had to do. There are many different reasons why people are sent. It could be for drugs, fighting, absences, tardies, and grades.

Alternative school is a lot different from your typical high school. There are so many procedures that we have to follow in the morning and throughout the day: 

For “bag check” in the morning they have you take off your shoes and have those be searched.  I say “bag check” because they don’t allow backpacks, and if you brought anything into school it had to be sealed and it had to be a small amount. 

They also require students to wear a uniform, but in my opinion I like the uniforms, just because I didn’t have to pick out what to wear that day. The uniform that they require students are khaki pants for everyone, but different colored shirts for middle and high school. Middle school is a navy blue button up t-shirt and high school is a gray button up t-shirt.

The alternative school is located in Conway. It’s about 45 minutes to an hour away from my house, depending on traffic. 

You would think that the teachers there are super strict, since we have so many rules to follow, but honestly they aren’t. As long as you get your work done and mind your business, then they won’t have an issue with you. Some of the teachers made my experience a whole lot better. They helped me and told me what I needed to do to get out of there. They were always there for me. If I had to pick a favorite teacher, I would most definitely pick Ms. Bone. She was one of the nicest teachers there. If me and my friends didn’t have work that day, she would play Uno with us; that was always fun. 

Not everyone at alternate school gets the same treatment. Kids are divided up into three tiers, based on the seriousness of their rule violation. Each tier requires a certain amount of points (earned through attendance, behavior, completing assignments and doing your advisory lesson) and hours of community service. Tier One has to get 80 points and 5 hours of community service, I got this Tier.. Tier Two had to get 180 points and 10 hours of community service. Tier Three is the one tier that is the most strict out of all of them. In Tier Three, you are required to get 280 points and 20 hours of community service.

While I was there, I made many memories that I’ll never forget. I made two friends – from Saint James and Aynor high. One of my friends started two days before me, and the other one came about a week after I arrived. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but I don’t need a lot. The two friends that I made were enough. They made my experience at SOAR academy way better than I ever thought it could be. 

The average day in a high school alternative school is that you get there around 9:00-9:25, and then you have an advisory every day from 9:25-9:55. First block is from 9:58-11:23. Second block is from 11:26-12:51. Lunch doesn’t have a specific time, it takes place in the beginning of third block which is from 12:54-2:47, it’s the longest class period because of lunch, You aren’t required to do work during lunch, but some people do. Finally, the last block is fourth block from 2:51-4:15. But just because it’s 4:15 doesn’t mean we all get to leave at once. The principal calls four buses at a time after releasing car riders. So that being said, if your bus isn’t there immediately you aren’t leaving right away and you’ll have to wait, and sometimes the buses are late. Normally, I wouldn’t get home till about 5:25-5:40. 

Alternative school is just a reminder that every action had a consequence and, that said consequence can either be good or bad. Personally I would say that alternative school isn’t the worst thing that can happen, it gives you an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and start fresh. 

If I had to be honest, I didn’t want to leave alternative school. Being in alternative school doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a bad person; alternative school is just a different way of learning. Yes, people are sent there for things that they shouldn’t have done, but while they are there they learn from their mistakes and it makes you a better person.