Student Voices: A Conversation with High School Students about What’s Next in Education

July 09, 2020 Sarah Williamson By Sarah Williamson
Student having a virtual conversation whille sitting on the floor.

Discussions about the fall are continuing to evolve with districts evaluating potential back to school scenarios to keep students safe, but still learning. We all seem to be talking about our students these days, but few are talking to the students themselves.

In our 12th episode of Opportunity Thrives, a podcast where we explore what’s working in our schools today, what’s not, and how we can implement positive, lasting change, we had an opportunity to chat with two students. These students share their experience with online learning and what they anticipate the future holds for education today.


You can listen to the full episode here:

In this episode, we talk with high school students to understand their concerns, their strategies for success and what they believe districts should consider when implementing long-term virtual learning programs. These students are either enrolled in full-time virtual school or they are taking individual, online courses.

Our first guest, Nicola Peck, is a senior in high school who recently landed a near-perfect SAT score. Nicola has a unique approach to learning that she credits is her father’s influence. She has always viewed her assignments as an opportunity to hone her skills in areas where she is not as strong, making her a better student and a more well-rounded individual.

Nicola has also adopted many strategies along the way that have made her a very successful online student. She recently accepted a full-tuition scholarship to attend Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky this fall.

Ryan Ziyuan Qu is a 16-year old sophomore at San Marino High School in Los Angeles who also joined us for the discussion. Ryan grew up in Beijing, China, and immigrated to the United States with his mother when he was 10 years old. In January, he founded a nonprofit organization whose mission is to assist and support single families through donations, employment opportunities and legislative reform.

The two students imparted words of wisdom on how to adjust to online learning and some of the hurdles they overcame throughout their own journey. From cultivating self-discipline to unifying district online learning standards, the two share a lot for districts to consider when developing effective online learning strategies moving forward.

As we consider potential solutions for returning to school this fall, it’s important that include the voices of the students we serve.

Understanding their perspective can provide insightful feedback for all of us to consider as we move forward. To listen to the full episode, visit:

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