The May 2021 student of the month at Alpha Omega Academy is Taya Tolbert-Nielsen, a sophomore who lives in the shadows of the Chugach Mountains in south-central Alaska. Growing up in a large family, Tolbert-Nielsen is now proud to be a member of an even larger family at Alpha Omega Academy, and she has no trouble staying active whether she’s participating in an extra-curricular activity at AOA or enjoying time in The Last Frontier.
“Taya lives in Alaska, so there is a significant time difference between her and some of the student clubs, but she still attends regularly and is an active participant,” wrote science teacher Amy McConnell in nominating Taya for this month’s honor. “She takes great pride in her work and is active in making sure she takes ownership in her learning by continuously asking questions and coming into the support room. Her communication skills are commendable, and I look forward to seeing her continue to progress as a student, as well as outside AOA.”
My AOA Story
I have been a student at Alpha Omega Academy for two years. I became a student in the 2019-2020 school year when I was a high school freshman. I learned about AOA when my mom and I were trying to find an online high school with teachers. We had looked at the top online schools, and AOA stood out for being Christian, as well as for having awesome teachers and a large variety of classes. I decided I liked AOA after looking at the curriculum and talking to some of the staff, so I enrolled.
Why I Love AOA
My favorite part of online learning is the flexibility in my schedule, knowing that I can take my schoolwork with me anywhere. I also enjoy the meetings and clubs, especially the flexibility and casualness of those meetings.
My Favorite Subject
This is a tough toss-up between Biology, specifically Human Anatomy and Physiology, and U.S. History. I enjoy Biology because of the labs. I love experimenting and working on lab type projects, and I can learn more about how things react with each other, how things work, and how things are classified. I like U.S. History, too. I enjoy learning about the origins of the United States and some of the major events that have happened in our history.
My family story is interesting. I am adopted and raised by my grandparents. With all said and done, I have 13 siblings: 2 stepsiblings, others adopted, and 2 blood siblings. With the siblings I live with at home, we cook, clean, play, read, and make crafts together. We’re all apart of each other’s activities, and we all support each other in practicing those activities.
My Life in Alaska
I enjoy the fall season because the gardens are ready to harvest, the berries are ready to pick, and I can pole fish for salmon, white fish, and sea run trout. I also enjoy catching small stream run and lake run trout. My favorite thing about Alaska though is the mountains and the drives to get to other places to fish. Everywhere we go, there is a drive that involves mountains, and every drive has rest-stops with historical information on different parts of the highway, the mountains, and the little towns along the way.
I like to spend my free time making crafts, making jewelry, and practicing archery. I am a book worm, so I spend a lot of time reading too. I like fighting in Tae Kwon Do, and I passed my yellow belt test with an almost perfect score. I’m very ambitious and studious. I like adrenaline rushes and other odd things along those lines. I also like a good challenge.
My Dream Job
I would choose to become an Air Force Pararescue Specialist. I would choose this because it is combat, a challenge, and a prestigious position and program where I can learn about emergency medical situations and techniques. I want to do this to test myself and to perform and finish the training. I would take this job just to be able to say I can perform under tough and stressed circumstances, serve my country, and fulfill a dream.
I plan to enroll in the paramedic program and attend Matanuska–Susitna College, which is part of the University of Alaska Anchorage system. I also plan to become a volunteer with MAT-SAR, which is Alaska’s K-9 search and rescue volunteer organization.
My Words of Wisdom
Some advice I would offer to my AOA classmates would be if you’re a new, first semester freshman at AOA, don’t be discouraged with your grades and GPA. It takes a while to learn the program and the teacher’s standards. In the second semester, you’ll see a huge improvement in your grades, as long as you try your best all the time. I encourage all students to try their best on everything, even the subjects you appreciate the least.