Meredith Dean, Class of 2016, is an intelligent and dedicated student whose many strengths unfolded during her Wye River years. Meredith transferred to Wye River halfway through her freshman year of high school when it became clear to her family that she needed an alternative to her local public school. Meredith recalls feeling overwhelmed and unable to self-advocate at her old school. “ I was having trouble finding the courage to ask questions. The teachers were really busy and didn’t have time to check in on me.”
Meredith has worked hard over the years to manage dyslexia and she needed targeted support for reading. She explained that when she came to Wye River, she was able to work carefully on her reading aloud. “That was easier in smaller groups where everyone knows that we all struggle and it’s not a big deal. I didn’t have to worry if I messed up.”
Meredith also shared that being focused was a challenge and at Wye River she took advantage of the stragtegies that helped. “I was able to sit or stand (standing desks are optional) and that helped me. There were fidgets available too.” Spelling was a challenge, but because Meredith used the technology tools like speech-to-text on her laptop, she became more proficient with spelling and writing.
Meredith formed many strong bonds through her high school years. She described her peers as very understanding. “Because they had similar challenges, they were easy to talk to and they knew exactly what I was going through. I met friends I would know forever. It was able to make connections quickly at Wye River.” She also built strong ties to her teachers who she emphasized were extremely patient. “If someone keeps asking questions or doesn’t understand, they keep answering. They won’t stop until you know what they are talking about.”
Over her four years, Meredith learned that she has exceptional strengths in visual learning. Because many of the projects were hands-on at Wye River, this worked well for her. “My teachers helped me to draw diagrams and pictures. I could draw diagrams of Math problems or pictures of vocabulary words. I did 3D Math which I was naturally good at.” Teachers worked with Meredith to create projects that highlighted her visual strengths.
Meredith was also involved in many activities at Wye River. She was the Student Chair of the Two Rivers Bike Ride (a major fundraising event for the school). She was elected to the National Honor Society her junior year. She always had a key role in the annual school play. And she played soccer, field sports, and participated in Martial Arts.
Now a student at Fairmont University, Meredith is majoring in Graphic Technology and she is enjoying her classes. Meredith is again involved in many school activities. She is a member of the Chi-Alpha group that does a great deal of volunteer work including feeding the hungry. She is keeping in shape by playing in the Rugby Club. In her free time, she loves to draw or paint or simply get together with friends for dinner and movies.
When asked what advice she would like to share with Wye River students, she explained, “Don’t be afraid to use what you have learned at Wye River, because certain techniques may take a little longer or look different to others. If you find something that works for you - use it and stick to it!”