Sarah Choi – 2024 Emmett Comer Scholarship Winner

Being flexible and allowed to pursue my passions is one of the greatest benefits I have found in homeschooling.

The flexibility homeschooling has given me has helped me grow tremendously musically. For the last three years, I have participated in the Tacoma Youth Symphony. I started playing the violin in the fifth grade, unlike the majority of my peers who started at age 4 or 5. Homeschooling has allowed me to have more time to practice on school days, allowing me to catch up to my peers’ level and sit as concertmaster this year. This has increased my passion for music as well as my leadership abilities. Aside from my personal development, I’m starting to teach little children privately and am a mentor at both the Tacoma Junior Youth Symphony and my old middle school. I provide sectionals and one-on-one lessons because the majority of students in school orchestras cannot afford private instruction. With the time homeschooling gives me, I am able to give back to my community.

Homeschooling has also allowed me to branch out of my introversion and talk to people of all ages. Around middle school, I began getting more involved in my family’s convenience store in downtown Seattle and am still doing so. There, I’ve met all kinds of people, from millionaires to homeless people, company presidents to construction workers, lawyers to ex-convicts. I have had exchanges that encourage me to improve my speaking and conversation skills and allow me to connect with people. Every interaction and conversation is unique; they vary from discussing my college search with a high school history teacher to reminiscing about the old Mariners field, Kingdome, with an architect. I have also learned how to treat and have compassion for those who do not have homes, may struggle with addictions, and are often misunderstood by many. At my church, I have fun with my friends and work alongside other adults on the main service worship team I am a part of. All these help me establish relationships with individuals of all ages and backgrounds.

Thanks to homeschooling, I have been able to study at my own speed and go deeper into the areas I enjoy. I can study my textbooks whenever and wherever I like. Every family trip serves as an instructive field trip. My mom always sees to it that my sisters and I are able to learn something new while having fun.

Homeschooling has given me time to enjoy learning and love others. As I enter college, I hope to continue to play the violin, give back to my community, and meet new people.