TTUISD Frees Student for Exciting Experiences


May 23, 2011

In 2001, during her fifth-grade year, Katie Hinton left public school and enrolled in Texas Tech University Independent School District. Some students might have found leaving friends and the routinized structure of a traditional classroom a jarring experience. For Katie, it was an opportunity to embrace new and different experiences which proved enriching both academically and socially.

Being a TTUISD student gave Katie the freedom to complete her coursework at her own pace while pursuing extracurricular opportunities that might not have been available from a traditional school setting. “What I really like about TTUISD is getting to go in and really look at the curriculum on my own and be able to have some flexibility in there, in my schedule," Katie said.

The flexibility in the curriculum schedule is what allowed Katie to travel around Texas to aid in her mother’s parish nursing program; travel to Chile, Peru, and Australia with People to People Student Ambassadors; hone her musical skills on the Celtic harp; and open her own jewelry business, KR Hinton Designs. Because Katie was not bound by traditional classroom settings, she was able to participate in the Crow Canyon High School Field School, a program which teaches students about archaeology through field experiences. “Again, it’s something that I probably couldn’t have gotten to do if I were in public school. I like the freedom,” Katie described.

As a TTUISD student, Katie certainly gained a wealth of knowledge from her experiences abroad. During that time, she was also given the opportunity to forge friendships and meet people from different cultures and backgrounds. One of the goals of the People to People Student Ambassador program is to promote world peace and cross cultural understanding through student interaction. She also had the opportunity to meet and interact with people of different denominations across Texas and the United States as she participated in her mother’s parish nursing ministry.

However, Katie would say that she was particularly lucky in that she got to spend more time at home doing the things she loved to do as a result of not being in school from eight to three, Monday through Friday. She was able to spend more time on her family’s farm caring for the animals she loves and bonding with her family.

In the fall, Katie will leave home to attend McMurry University in Abilene where she will study art and history. She knows she will miss her family and the animals for which she has cared. While it will be a new adventure with new challenges, she feels that TTUISD and the experiences which a non-traditional education afforded has her more than prepared her for whatever the future holds.

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