Alumni Profile: Sarah Bernacki

When Sarah Bernacki looks back on her experiences as a Hill student, she remembers the time as special. “My performance in the Hill environment gave me the confidence to go on to college and believe I could do well.” As a 2016 graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a B.A. in Audio Engineering, Sarah is currently pursuing her Doctor of Audiology at the University of the Pacific in San Francisco. She will do her residency at the University of Miami Mailman Center for Child Development. Her goal is to become a pediatric audiologist.

Sarah attended Hill Learning Center as an eleventh and twelfth grade student and graduated from Durham School of the Arts and Hill in 2013. At Hill, she believes she gained the courage to self-identify, to advocate for herself, and to embrace the different ways in which everyone learns. She says, “Hill taught me that even though things can be frustrating and seem impossible, hard work DOES pay off.”

In her early years as a student, Sarah reports that she never felt “smart enough” to finish high school, but only a few years later, she is well on her way to earning her second advanced degree. “The Hill Center made a huge difference early in my life and inspired me to find a way to make a difference for someone else.”

Finally, Sarah wants others to know, “The combination of kindness, tough love, patience and acceptance that I found at Hill really changed my life, and I am grateful I had the opportunity to become a part of this family.”

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