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Julia Hilfiker

Class of '07

Julia Hilfiker

When did you start at RCS? Was there a specific reason you came, and how many years were you here?

 Like many students who attend RCS, I was dissatisfied and uninterested in the education I was receiving in public school. I wasn’t learning, that’s the one time in my life I specifically remember not taking in information at a rate that was even close to my peers. The wall I hit while in class wasn’t something I felt I could surpass, I also didn’t feel inclined to ask questions, because I couldn’t possibly see myself catching up.

Reading was specifically difficult. I don’t remember any kind of instruction or introduction to reading. I was aware that everyone was reading, and could read, but I definitely could not. I wasn’t in the sections of class with the successful readers, and eventually was moved from my grade all together for part of the day. During that part of the day I would draw, so it didn’t bother me, but wasn’t beneficial.

What is your favorite memory of Radcliffe Creek? Did you have a favorite class or a favorite teacher?

I remember a great section of Discovery class with Mr. Joiner. We were learning about the heart and we turned the small classroom into a heart, using mostly colored rolls of construction paper. When we were finished we crawled through the heart. As a class we learned about the heart by being blood cells moving through the heart. It was great!

There are so many memories…all the plays with Mrs. Bushby! Mrs. Anthony planned an amazing trip to Port Isobel Island to conclude our section on the Chesapeake Bay. Reading class with Mrs. Cohee-Wright was actually my favorite part of the day! Every day I would read through my sound cards, and add a new sound card. We would write words and sounds in shaving cream, whipped cream, jello mix. I found the Orton-Gillingham process very meditative. 

What did you learn about yourself as a student (and a person) while at Radcliffe? How did Radcliffe Creek prepare you for the future? 

Radcliffe prepared me for my future by teaching me how to successfully intake information. I never thought that I would have books in my apartment that I enjoyed reading, or want to read, but I do. I wouldn’t have made it through college or high school without learning the best ways my brain learns and grows. As a person, Radcliffe showed me that you have to work very hard, and also be patient for many successes. The Orton-Gillingham approach took a long time to complete, but it was all for the greater good, and it was worth the time it took. 

Where did you go after Radcliffe? 

After Radcliffe, I attended The Grier School, an all girls boarding school in western Pennsylvania. After Grier, I moved to Washington, DC and went to The Corcoran College of Art & Design, which is now part of The George Washington University. 

What are you up to now and what are your plans for the future? 

Right now I am living in DC. I just graduated from The Corcoran and am exploring different job options. In the meantime, I have been assisting a local artist and former teacher. I have also started volunteering with a few local city farms. Last summer, I traveled to Ladakh, India, the trip further ignited my interest in sustainable agriculture and local food production. 

What would you tell a family about Radcliffe if they are considering for their child? 

Anyone who is considering an alternative to traditional education for their child should keep in mind that there is more to gain from attending a school like RCS than there is to lose. The one on one attention, and specialized teaching methods are rarities in most educational settings, but these things can be necessary for some children to succeed.

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