Student Showcase: A Star is HomeschooledOct 22nd, 2011 | By Jessica Parnell | Category: Student Showcase
Jimmy Alotta homeschooler speaks about his educational experience
This month Bridgeway Academy is showcasing our very own TV star! Already featured in an episode of Law & Order and in several commercials, Jimmy Alotta was born and raised in Allentown, PA and is currently a senior in high school.
Jimmy started out performing locally at Easton’s State Theatre and other Lehigh Valley theatre productions. His first play was The Fisherman and His Wife. At 12 years old, he informed his mom that acting was what he wanted to do. Over the next few years, he traveled to New York City (NYC) for acting classes, started making connections, and went through mass auditions. After getting an agent and a manager, he booked his first job in 2009 – a Comcast Cable commercial. Law & Order followed two months later, and he’s been going non-stop ever since. This summer he took some time to enjoy some of the local events he’s missed – Musikfest, Mayfair, the Allentown Fair – and talk with us about his homeschool experience.
BA: How did you find out about homeschooling? When did you start homeschooling?
JA: I started when I was six years old – in kindergarten so I’ve always known about it.
BA: Did you chose to be homeschooled or did your parents choose it for you? Why?
JA: My mom actually saw the direction I was going in. As a creative kid, I didn’t really mesh with the other kids. And you know, I’m thankful for this – homeschooling. I didn’t have to worry about the other kids in school. Rather than associate with kids that I didn’t have much in common with, I was able to just be around my friends.
BA: Have you ever attended a public or private school? How is homeschooling different from your public school experience?
JA: Yes, I went to a Catholic school for a year – seventh grade. When my grandmother came to live with us before she passed away, I thought that I’d like to try a traditional school so I gave it a shot. It didn’t click, and my grades dropped. I went right back to homeschooling! I felt like the teachers didn’t listen and honestly, I don’t think that my having been homeschooled for the seven years prior to going to Catholic school helped at all. I think the teachers didn’t care for that at all. I also think that my not being Catholic might have been an issue for them. The experience really solidified my reasons for not going to a traditional school!
BA: What do you like the most about homeschooling?
JA: I tried a bunch of different curriculums with homeschooling, and what I noticed when I attended school was that they didn’t go very in-depth on topics…and the books seemed to contradict each other. Homeschooling’s curriculum explains everything and is very informative. I really liked how things were presented and the books are modern – not from 1969! The books actually go through current events.
BA: What did you like the least?
JA: You know that is tough. I have lots of friends and hang out with them. But I guess every once in a while the thing that bugged me was the thought that I was missing out on something. You know, in terms of being around kids all the time – and that the freshman year of high school was supposed to be the ‘big thing’. But I don’t feel that way now. And like I said, it wasn’t a feeling I had all the time – and I do have plenty of friends so it wasn’t a lack of socialization!
BA: Are there certain subjects you really enjoy?
JA: I’m really big on civics and history. I really like Social Studies and American History – I love political affairs. I also really liked English – it’s really important for my future in writing and directing – so it’s helping me fine-tune my screenwriting and poetry.
BA: What experiences did homeschooling allow you to do that public school would not have given you?
JA: I don’t think things would have turned out the same way. I’m so glad to have been around people who have God in their life. If I’d been in traditional school, I could have been pulled in another direction. Homeschooling has allowed me to focus on all of the creative activities that I love – painting, music (I play two instruments), filmmaking – really any form of art or creating. It also lets me to take off and participate in activities that traditional schools would not allow – like helping a friend of mine manage things at his skating tournament, or going to NYC for acting classes. Homeschooling’s self-pacing is awesome! I can do double the amount of work that’s in my planner if I want to. Sometimes, I’ll get into a rhythm and then I’ll keep going doing three weeks worth of work in a day!
BA: What are your plans for the future? College? Dreams?
JA: Well, I’m finishing my last year of high school now. I’m planning on finishing up early – at the latest by March so I can focus on my artistic ventures. I realized over the past several months that I’ve never really taken time to focus 100% on acting – I’ve always had multiple projects going on. So I said to myself, “it’s time to do it.” After I finish up my senior year, I’m going to take a year off to go live in NYC and focus on laying the groundwork for my acting career. I’m looking at going to college later but I’m really looking forward to the endless opportunities!
BA: We wish Jimmy all the best in his future endeavors! Good luck, Jimmy!