Alumni Spotlight: Michelle Horner, Story of a Self-Starter


Laurel Springs AlumBack to school season means new classes, new classes mean new books! This is something Laurel Springs alum, Michelle Horner, is really looking forward to, even after graduating in 2014. 

The Story of a Self-Starter

Michelle’s Laurel Springs School journey started in 2007. She was entering sixth grade and ready for a new way of learning. “I enjoyed all aspects of LSS—the self-pacing, the flexibility to work on whatever subject I fancied that day, the ability to explore topics more in-depth, as well as the independent style of it all.”

As someone who prides herself in being self-motivated, Michelle thrived in Laurel Springs’ student-centered approach to learning. She felt free to dive deeper into the subjects that interested her more—something she wasn’t encouraged to do in public school. “My [LSS] teachers were actively interested in my thoughts and analyses, saw my understanding of material even through mistakes, and provided wonderful feedback.”

With so much freedom to learn and explore, Michelle happily continued her virtual journey all the way through high school. This is when her love of reading reignited.

“I'm always reading something in my free time. I particularly love...classics and nonfiction books, and I am fairly positive that LSS...helped shape my reading preferences..! The critical reading that was encouraged throughout all subjects...helped me feel less daunted by lengthy classics or obscure topics; they heightened my curiosity of the world and of the bits of history and society that are never taught but for a brief sidebar in a textbook.”

Michelle still carries that thirst for knowledge. “Through my experience at LSS, I learned how to critically analyze things I read and see everyday as well as developed the organized and focused work ethic I use everyday.”

Back to the Books

After graduating, Michelle continued her online education through community college and received her Associate of Arts degree in 2016. Through it all, her love of books is one chapter she’s not ready to close. “I have continued my higher education in a unique way by working at textbook and campus stores since 2018...Receiving my textbooks from Laurel Springs for the upcoming school year was one of the highlights of the year and that excitement continued into my college years—despite the costs of the books, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the materials for the semester.”

This tenderness for textbooks is still strong today, and Michelle finds working at the bookstore is a win-win. “I love helping students find the materials they need while also finding some new books to add to my [to-be-read pile]!” At the moment, Michelle is content with keeping this job her main focus on campus. “While I love learning and higher education, the call of a university education—at least in the traditional sense—doesn't appeal to me that much (plus I am much too undecided on what to major in still!), so it's a wonderful compromise to be able to work with the same materials I'd be using for classes.”

Back in Contact

Even after six years, Michelle is excited to stay in touch with fellow Laurel Springs alum, that’s why she was fully onboard to sign up for the LSS Alumni Connect social networking platform. “I love seeing what alums are up to and it’s fun to be able to interact with students who have had a unique schooling background. It’s difficult to explain distance learning backgrounds to other people who haven’t done it.” 

What is she looking forward to the most? “A variety of events, from casual coffee talks to business relations to maybe alumni run resume skills and mock interview sit downs. Something that will help not just those who already are in successful, high-end careers, but those who still haven’t found a job or are taking different career/college paths.”

Laurel Springs has always been about creating an inclusive, global community, and this platform is just one more way students benefit from that mission. “I’m excited to be a part of the community and hope that it becomes a place where alumni can come for advice and just to reminisce!” If you’re an alum who’s just as excited, check out the platform and register today.

Do you have a story you’d like to share? We’d love to feature it on the Laurel Springs blog! If you’re a Laurel Springs alumni, please fill out this form and share your accomplishments with us.