Rachel struggled with crippling anxiety, which came to a head in 2012. She had always been a straight A student, however, her worsening social anxiety, general anxiety and panic attacks led to her eventual diagnosis – Rachel had Asperger syndrome. When she arrived at Westbrook, it was hard for Rachel to imagine becoming the college student she is today. “When I first got to Westbrook, I couldn’t even say the word college without getting nauseous,” she recalls.
Rachel enrolled in Westbrook in May 2012. She says, “Attending Westbrook was the first time I felt comfortable with other kids.” Transferring from a school with 1,200 students to Westbrook, with a student body of 24, surely played a role in her transformation, but it was much more than that.
“My anxiety went down so much. The other students understood me because they were going through a lot of the same things. I also had a great therapist, Suzy. There was always someone I could talk to at Westbrook,” says Rachel.
Rachel went on to attend Landmark College in Vermont. She has access to vocational, therapeutic and academic supports and she draws upon the coping techniques she learned at Westbrook whenever issues arise. Rachel studied liberal arts and hopes to attend law school.
You don’t always know you have a gift. People said Wilson was special for solving a Rubik’s cube in under a minute. He just thought he was good at puzzles. People said he had amazing confidence on the piano for a five-year-old. He just thought music was fun. His experience at Westbrook Preparatory School taught him that people can have many gifts-and that discovering them within yourself can change every aspect of your life.
Before attending Westbrook, life was different for Wilson at school, where he felt lost, misunderstood, uninterested, and socially out of place. He was down on his luck, longing for focus, friendships, fun, and rediscovering his confidence playing the piano. At Westbrook, Wilson formed new friendships and rediscovered his strength and confidence to excel in both the academic and social worlds.
The nurturing environment at Westbrook continues to drive momentous goals for Wilson – from helping him thrive in school, to preparing him for a successful future career. Wilson landed a position as an IT intern, enabling him to continue following his passion for technology.
Today, he is playing the piano with full confidence, challenging himself with pieces of Chopin and Wagner. He excels in his classes, loves taking part in sports such as the student-staff football competition, and has rediscovered an interest in exciting and eye-opening subjects including computers, cooking, and chess.
“Thanks to SCO Family of Services and Westbrook Preparatory School for being part of my success story,” said Wilson.