Legacy Alumni Panel 2024

Legacy Alumni Panel 2024


The Legacy School hosted our annual alumni panel on Friday, April 12th 2024! It is an honor and a joy to welcome old friends back to share about life beyond Legacy. We were joined by five former students that are now in high school and college. These students answered questions from current students about the challenges of growing up, what Legacy was like for them, and advice for how to continue to be a successful student.


Legacy Alumni from left to right: Cam, Evan, Melinda, Hannah, and Elizabeth.


Dyslexia and language based disabilities impact people for their entire lives, and learning how older students cope in different environments is encouraging for Legacy students. Several students asked the panel about how much homework they have in high school, and how they manage to balance homework with after school activities. Most of the alumni agreed that there is a lot more homework in high school, and that it can be tough to adjust to the change! The alumni also explained that even though more homework was a big adjustment, they were able to adapt with time and support. Panelist Evan recommended that students develop “tricks” to get through reading, like focusing on beginning and ending sentences in paragraphs, and prioritizing the most important information in texts. Elizabeth shared the importance of time management, a skill that Legacy students are encouraged to build to increase their independence and ownership of learning. She explained that keeping assignments organized, utilizing lunch time as homework time, and getting help are important to managing the workload of high school and college. All the alumni agreed that after school activities are fun and important, and that prioritizing time for sports, volunteering, clubs, and hanging out with friends are important to enjoying high school. Homework and grades are important, but growing up means learning from experiences and from school!


A current Legacy student asking the panelists a question. Legacy students are encouraged to turn to face the person speaking to be respectful and stay focused.


Our current students wanted to know more about the lives of alumni outside of school. The panelists were asked if they enjoyed driving, which was a resounding “Yes!” Dyslexia does not prevent individuals from being able to drive, but remembering left from right is sometimes a challenge. All of the panelists enjoy the freedom that comes with a driver’s license. Students also asked about the driver’s test because testing is sometimes hard for Legacy students. First the alumni reminded the kids that it is fine to not pass the driving test the first time, and in fact many people fail the first time they try because the test is designed to be difficult. Elizabeth explained to students that the written part of the drivers exam is an important opportunity for self-advocacy! Students with dyslexia are given testing accommodations, and those accommodations can be used not only in school, but in any government run space. Students with dyslexia can receive audio support for the written portion of the driver’s test so that they can focus on the context of questions and remembering the rules of the road without being worried that they misread a word or phrase. All of the panelists explained the importance of advocacy in and out of school, and that some teachers won’t fully understand why supports are needed, but that Legacy students deserve every opportunity and tool that helps them learn successfully.

Legacy students also had questions about making friends and building connections. All of the alumni were happy to share that they do still stay in touch with many of their friends from Legacy, even though they live in different counties and attend different schools. The alumni encouraged students to join clubs and teams in high school because it is easier to make friends with people that share common interests and passions. One student asked if there was ever bullying or teasing because of their dyslexia. The alumni were glad to say that no, they are not usually bullied for their disability, even if people do not understand or recognize it easily. They did say that sometimes friends tease them about it, but in a friendly way that shows their friends care and know them well. They also shared that friends often understand that they have challenges, and offer help. Elizabeth laughed and talked about her friends pointing when she drives because left and right are hard for her, or how they will read the menu to her at restaurants because the amount of writing can be intimidating. All the alumni agreed that high school brings new challenges, but those challenges help bring friends together for a lifetime.


Students listen attentively to the alumni panel. Ms. Lisa (on the right) facilitated questions from current students.


The alumni also offered insight and inspiration about working towards the future. They explained that the workload in high school and college is challenging, and that patience and organization are really important to getting everything done. Change of any kind is hard, and switching from Legacy to different schools was difficult, but through determination they were able to get through. Dyslexia has impacted how they work and study, and the panelists urged students to defend their needs to professors in college. Reading is still difficult for all of the alumni, but they use skills they learned at Legacy, and really enjoy audio books! Elizabeth shared that there is computer software she uses to make sure her textbooks, assigned readings, and tests can be read to her in college. Each panelist shared goals for the future, and how excited they are to achieve new things. Cam is excited to join the military, and Evan is still figuring out what he wants to do, but loves sports and is going to college on an athletic scholarship. Melinda loves animals, and spends time volunteering with the SPCA; she hopes to be a veterinary assistant or technician when she graduates. Hannah and Elizabeth were so inspired by their time at Legacy that they are working towards becoming teachers for young students with special needs and disabilities.

Each of the alumni are grateful for their time at Legacy because it helped them enjoy learning again. Many of them were frustrated, angry, and confused at school before they came to Legacy. The struggles they faced in traditional programs lowered their confidence and self-esteem. At Legacy, they learned to accept help from teachers, and regained trust in their abilities to adapt, grow, and learn. Their time at Legacy gave them valuable skills for navigating the world with an invisible disability like dyslexia. The alumni shared how great it was to see teachers and tutors again, and how much they appreciated the leadership of Ms. Jamie, our head of school. The panelist shared how Legacy supported them to achieve great things, and that they look back fondly on the memories of games, experiences, and learning in this amazing community. Our current students left with an understanding of the challenges and triumphs that await them when its time for them to leave Legacy.


Students in 4th through 8th grade fill the community room to hear from Legacy alumni.


Our alumni loved the chance to take a silly face photo!