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Alumni Profile: Alicia Markham Morris

Seventh grade math for Alicia Markham Morris was “a disaster.” When her parents decided to send her to Hill Learning Center, Alicia was reluctant. She agreed to go, giving it one week, and if she didn’t like it, she would return to her middle school. On the way home from the first day at Hill, Alicia told her mother, “I can learn math here; Mom, you did the right thing making me go.” Alicia continued at Hill through high school, graduating from Riverside High School and Hill in 1998.

After leaving Hill, Alicia went on to earn a B.A. in History and Art History from Sweet Briar College and a Masters of Teaching in Social Studies from The University of Virginia. In 2020 she was a MEAC (Middle East and African Cultures) Teacher Fellow in the Duke University – UNC Chapel Hill Consortium for Middle East Studies. In 2011 and 2014, she participated in the Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad in Tanzania and Morocco, respectively. Alicia received the Hill Center’s Road Less Traveled Alumni Award in 2012. She currently teaches seventh grade world history at Cary Academy. Alicia and her husband David have two daughters and live in Cary, NC.

In describing her experiences as a student at Hill, Alicia says, “The one-on-one guidance provided by the teachers was essential for me to learn to flourish despite my struggles with memorization, organization, and focus.” She also remembers developing “warm and companionable relationships” with her teachers at Hill.

The skills Alicia developed at Hill have gone with her beyond high school. She reports, “I gained skills which allowed me to thrive throughout undergraduate and graduate school. Despite my needing to work longer and perhaps harder than other students in my programs at Sweet Briar and UVA, I was able to find great success, in part due to the skills I learned at Hill.” But for Alicia, it did not stop there. As a teacher, she continues to credit Hill with her success. “Being a student at Hill allowed me to experience and witness best practices when working with students with learning differences. The teachers’ careful review of instructions, step-by-step scaffolding, and total accessibility to students provided me with a clear example of what I should be trying to do in my classroom at Cary Academy.”

Most importantly, Alicia concludes, her time as a Hill student provided her with the skills “I needed to be a successful learner who could advocate for herself. I learned what I needed to succeed and how to ask for it.”

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