Meet Morgan

Morgan and friend

Morgan attended Tallgrass for 5 years. Here's his story. 

Current age and occupation: 21, college student

Before Tallgrass: Morgan unschooled before attending Tallgrass. He never went to a conventional K-12 school. 

What are you doing now?
I’m in the nursing program at Joliet Junior College. I just finished my first semester. Prior to that, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I think in a way that was really good for me, because I got to search for what I was interested in. I was a martial arts coach for a very long time. I still coach that, and a variety of other things. Having the opportunity to really be open with my time, I was able to discover what I liked about my job, and how I can translate that into my education and a future career.

How did you spend your time at Tallgrass?
I hung out with my friends all day, every day, and played video games.  I maybe did a total of 6 hours of academics throughout the time I was here.

I was school meeting chair for a year, and that assisted me in taking initiative, but also in being more open to listening to what people had to say. As the school meeting chair, your job is to manage the meeting, to make sure that each person gets their own opportunity to talk, that they are able to talk about their opinions without being interrupted. There’s this unspoken rule that you don’t want to provide that much. You don’t want to be taking up all the dialogue within the meeting, so you have to be better at listening and managing time and being more concise.

A lot of the school meetings were really enjoyable. I found it incredible the way that everyone works together to solve different problems within the school and make changes. 

Were you planning to go to college while at Tallgrass?
When I thought about it, I was terrified to move to college. I had no idea what it was like, and I had heard from friends what school was like.

How did you get into college?
I ended up starting at Joliet Junior College. I was taking classes, but I focused too much on friends initially, and ended up stopping for a little bit. I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I got into nursing because I've been a martial arts coach since age 12. Currently, I teach gymnastics, parkour, free-running, and martial arts. I've been working with people for so long, and it's something I love to do. I translated that into nursing, where you're working with people a lot, and you're really helping them.

How did your Tallgrass education affect you once you started college?
A lot of my basic courses focused on critical thinking. At a Sudbury school, there’s no getting away from situations like there is in public school. When something happens in a public school, it’s some higher up, some adult, that just tells you what’s going happen, and that’s what happens, and when you’re in such a big school, too, you may not even see that person again. All those issues just go away and you don’t really see the repercussions.

In this kind of school, you’re part of the decision making of what’s going to happen to the other person, and you know that you’re going to see that person every single day, so you have to be a little more fair. You don’t want to do something unreasonable to them because you know it could happen to you too. I think that a lot of my problem-solving skills initiated from Tallgrass. Having that critical thinking from my Sudbury education made a lot of the other content easier to understand, I always knew which questions I needed to ask and what information I needed to further my progress through school.

Another thing is time management. When you have so much free time and it shrinks all of a sudden, you realize quickly that you need to order things in a way that’s going to benefit you the most. You learn to allocate time properly to manage your schedule in the way that you need.

I’m also able to work with all ages. A lot of my friends growing up had no idea how to talk with adults, and now that I’m older, a lot of people don’t know how to talk with kids. That’s one thing that I've never had a problem with, because I've always been around such a large range of ages.

Would you send your child to a Sudbury school?
While I was a student, I thought I was going to send my kid to public school, because I was so nervous about what I was going to do with my life, and I didn’t entirely see the benefits. There were a lot of things that I loved about the school, but I didn’t really know. Now that I’m in college and I’m a little older than I was when I was here and I’ve learned a lot of different things, there’s no way I wouldn’t send my kid to a Sudbury school. I’ve realized how invaluable this education is. I couldn’t possibly see myself sending my kids to public school. The only way is if they really wanted to, then I would absolutely send them to public school. Otherwise, there’s so much value to this system of education, and I don’t think you really get it anywhere else.

Hear more from Morgan and from other Tallgrass alumni in our alumni panel discussion video

Ready to take the next step towards enrollment? Email us or call us at 708.777.1037 to schedule a tour for you and your child.