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Catching Up with Hill School Alum Jorja Smith

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

As we celebrate 10 years of The Hill School of Wilmington, our monthly Spotlight Series focus is on Hill School alum and individuals who, thanks in part, are the reason we are the success we are today. For November, we caught up with one of our original students, Jorja Smith.

Read the interview with Jorja below.

Jorja as a new Hill student in 2010

What was it like being one of the first students to attend The Hill School? What changes have you seen in the school since it started?

I was really little - in first grade. I remember the school being at St. James Church. I would go outside at break and watch the preschoolers playing in their fenced-in area. They were cute and I liked talking to them. I remember how nice Dr. Hodges was. Then we moved to the bigger school and then again to the school where it is now. That was fun to get better learning spaces each time.

How did The Hill School benefit you? Are you still using strategies/skills you learned while attending the school?

The two biggest things that help me are the relationships and the toolkits and skills. I learned how to advocate for myself, too. The teachers are amazing and were so encouraging. They helped me realize that I COULD do hard things. And they taught me to learn the way I learn. The best memory I have of Hill School is graduation although it was sad, too. I was there for so long and though I hated to leave, I knew I was ready and it was going to be great going to high school!

Also, Hill made it good to be a different learner. You were in classes with others like you and it was okay to struggle. No one thought anything bad about you for not always knowing something.

What are you doing now (school/work, etc.) and what are your plans for the future?

I am in the ninth grade at Wilmington Christian Academy. I am doing really well and I really like it. I have made friends and am happy. I am looking forward to joining the debate club and maybe the drama club when they get started. They let me advocate for things I need like taking a test in a different place. When I finish high school, I would like to go to college in South Carolina and learn to work with students with learning disabilities. There is so much I know that I want to use to help others.

Jorja with Hill School teacher Doris Sanders in June 2020


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