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Alumni Profile: Stefan Hooker

Family has always been important to Stefan Hooker, and he found that family feeling at Hill when he enrolled as a sixth grader. Stefan worked diligently during his two years at Hill and gained new skills and strategies that made him feel confident in returning to his base school full-time. After a number of years away, Stefan was tired of struggling in large classes, and watching his self-esteem slip away. He found his way back to Hill for eleventh and twelfth grades.

Hill School helped Stefan develop a sense of pride in himself and his accomplishments. A talented football and lacrosse player, he often struggled in the classroom. At Hill he learned that everyone learns differently, and hard work pays off. “At Hill, you were somebody. I gained the confidence to say that I learn differently.” Stefan reiterates that he was empowered through the strategies he learned, to deal with his learning disability forever.

Stefan describes Hill School as “a place to learn and grow. It has a family feel. We shared common goals and struggles, and we looked out for each other.” The feeling of family also included his teachers. “They would pick us up when we were down or frustrated. They never gave up even when we wanted to.”

After graduating from Chapel Hill High in 1989, Stefan went on to Western Carolina University, graduating in 1993. Stefan was the first recipient of the Road Less Traveled alumni award in 2000. Stefan and his wife Cory have two daughters, and when the girls began to experience challenges in school, the Hookers turned immediately to Hill Learning Center. Hill Summer boosted their skills and confidence, and both have continued to be successful students.

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