The December 2020 student of the month at Alpha Omega Academy is sophomore Warrior Vanderlois, a blacksmithing surfer who lives a stone’s throw from the Indian River Lagoon and Florida’s Atlantic Coast. In his first year as a student at AOA, Warrior has not only enjoyed getting acquainted with his new school, but his teachers have also appreciated having him in their classes.
“Aside from doing well in his course, the level of questions that he asks about the material go far beyond the scope of the course,” science teacher Trey Garzzillo wrote about Warrior in nominating him for this month’s award. “This demonstrates such a great understanding of the content, and I have really enjoyed answering the deep-dive questions! He isn’t just making a point to work through the material, but he shows that he is understanding the content to a level far above what is needed!”
My AOA Story
I’m a relatively new student at AOA. This is only my second month enrolled, but I have no doubt that I’m here to stay. My mom found out about AOA while trying to find a good, accredited school. We had been trying to find a new school system because we found our previous program was lacking in certain fields. We did some research and after hearing good things about Alpha Omega Academy, we decided to enroll.
Why I Love AOA
One of my all-time favorite parts of this school is that my parents aren’t the ones who have to answer my questions. Funny, I know, but having someone who knows more than you do to answer any questions is wonderful. I have also been delightfully surprised to find that AOA has challenged me to a different degree than other school systems have. They dive deeper into the material than I originally expected but are always there to help if you get stuck.
My Favorite Subject
I enjoy learning about the world around us, so my favorite subject would have to be science. It explains the complex systems that we encounter in everyday life and how perfectly God created everything.
I have five siblings, but only my younger sister is a full sibling. We enjoy swimming in our pool, and because we are renovating our house, we lend a hand when we can.
My Life in the Sunshine State
My favorite thing about Florida is the fact that I’m never far from a beach. To me, surfing is one of the best experiences. Finding a perfect swell and riding it to the shoreline is awesome and having the occasional dolphin join you in the water also never hurts.
Some people may think it’s unusual, but ever since I was a child, I was always mesmerized by fire. Today I get to harness the very thing I enjoyed as a kid and use it while forging. The past few years I’ve been getting better tools to shape metal. It started in my backyard with a simple brick foundry to now using a propane, fire brick forge that gets up to 3000 degrees. The best part is I get to say I’m a blacksmith with the name Warrior.
I’m sure most people wouldn’t expect a blacksmith to also like cooking, but that’s me. I can’t say that I like making one type of food because I’ve made candies, breads, and even something as simple as a shrimp boil.
My Dream Job
At the moment I don’t know what I’ll do. There is so much I want to achieve, and so much I want to do that it’s hard to imagine how to do it all in one lifetime. I want to save a life like a first responder and earn a Michelin star, but I would also like to make a chef’s knife like a skilled blacksmith.
Right now I want to get into a college. I’ll probably go for a double major in the culinary arts and mechanical engineering, but those are just ideas subject to change in the future.
My Words of Wisdom
When the work gets challenging, don’t give up or procrastinate. You can only get as much out of the material as you put into it.