Meet Dahlia!

Dahlia became a student here when she was just 9 years old and The Open School was starting its second year of operation! If you asked her, I’m sure she has lots of fun stories on what life looked like when the school was just starting out. Being a student at a Self-Directed School for the majority of her educational years has provided quite the unique experience for her. She planned many camping trips, developed her passion and interest in art and photography, served as one of the first Civics Board chairs, and completed the two year diploma program alongside many other things. This opened up a world of opportunity to grow and learn more about herself in a healthy and empowering way. 

Her favorite camping trip she organized was traveling up the coast to Mendocino, California. She was able to spend quality time with her friends while exploring the wilderness and small town near their camp. She loved how there was not any service to use phones and could really connect with her peers during this time. Throughout her years at school, Dahlia has painted many detailed art pieces and has captured special photographs of life’s memorable moments. She loves how she can fully express herself through her art and photography, and can create anything that comes to mind. She loved being able to work on her art projects from her garage in which she turned into her art studio. One memory of hers was painting during the winter season. As she had her candles lit and music playing in her studio she would sometimes hear the raindrops just outside. This is something that she treasures from her capstone project experience. Dahlia’s Capstone project was to create 10 new paintings and to capture 20 new photos all to be published on her own website portfolio. The biggest challenge for this project was developing the skill of time management and finding inspiration. Overall it was an experience that she is very grateful she had. 

Along with her cohort group she went to New York, New York for her adventure. Planning this trip was another big challenge for Dahlia. She took on a lot of the responsibility which led her to understand how capable she is. Part of her planning was making a Google map itinerary which was color coded for each day of the trip. Each day had about 8 different places to explore. The majority of it was carried out on the trip and she had the time of her life. She loved exploring the art museums, Central Park, observation decks, and trying NY food. Her favorite place to eat was Serendipity in Midtown Manhattan! This experience helped Dahlia grow in her independence and learn to be comfortable with exploring on her own. 

Dahlia’s advice for those considering joining the diploma program, is to go for it! She says: “The diploma program is a great opportunity to use your personal creativity, put it to work and express yourself in your own way. It is a great challenge, and you will feel so accomplished when you finish.”  

The best advice she received from her mentor Cassi was: “Whatever is meant to be will be and as a teenager you do not have to have everything figured out. Plans will change and you do not have to be in such a rush as you move through different phases of life.” 

Reflecting on her educational opportunities, Dahlia feels very lucky to have had this unique schooling experience. She says: “My most memorable school experiences were doing things out in the world and being here has helped me realize the kind of power I hold in my creativity and capabilities! The Open School is very special to me because I feel I was able to experience childhood the way it was supposed to be. I have developed the mindset that this is my life and I have the freedom to do what I want with it.” 

Here is the link to Dahlia’s portfolio website: https://www.dahliafaire.com/