Bermudian India Hill spent much of her life moving around and changing schools, two years ago she finally found a place that was a good fit for her here.
The 15-year-old was born with a rare genetic mutation which can affect practical life skills and intellectual functioning.
She’s seen positive change partly due to her school, Bermuda Centre for Creative Learning, which is designed for students with diagnosed language-based learning differences.
India was studying in Canada when her parents, Scott and Tricia Hill, heard that a new school for students with learning disabilities was opening here.
From an early age they’d provided therapeutic interventions to help India reach her potential and hoped that it might be the perfect fit for their daughter.
BCCL offered a chance for her to return to her island home and close-knit extended family, as well as her father and older sister who had remained in Bermuda during that time.
Ms Hill said: “We’d been through many schools here and, when India outgrew her time at Somersfield Academy, we looked at other options including homeschool, but we were unable to find anywhere that was willing to take her on here.
“We spent four years in Canada, but we were thrilled when Lindsey Sirju and Cindy Corday opened up the school here, which meant we could make the move back to Bermuda.”
It ended up being full circle for the family, as Ms Sirju had been India’s support teacher at Somersfield.
While Ms Hill planned her and India’s move back to the island, BCCL was setting down roots and made a huge impression on the family once they were ready to enrol the teenager there in 2017.
One of the things that most impressed them was BCCL’s ability to adapt to India’s needs.
Mr Hill said: “They look at each child separately and approach their learning differently. India has excellent social skills and there are certain areas where she is much stronger.”
The school has also helped India to gain self-confidence.
India said: “My favourite thing about school is getting to come here and hang out with my friends.”
She also enjoys drawing “pretty much anything that comes to my mind” and doing research on the Chromebooks recently donated to the school by Skyport.
Outside of school, India is an avid horse rider, baker and dancer who loves music and singing.
Ms Hill said: “We’ve been so pleased with the school that I wish it could go on for ever.
“But for her own independence, we need to think about next steps.
“She has definitely thrived here, and they have given her new tools in her belt to cope, so they have definitely helped her to become more independent.”
• Robyn Bardgett is a media communications consultant working with the Bermuda Centre for Creative Learning. Visit www.bccl.bm for more information