Open Connections

I wouldn't have changed anything...Even aspects of the program that were difficult were just opportunities to be challenged and grow more.

-Tommy Neilson
, OC Alum

Tommy Neilson

OC Alum

Alumni Profile [published in the OC Magazine, Winter 2017]


At what age did you start at OC? What programs were you involved in?

I started OC when I was eleven, starting out in Monday Tutorial and progressing to Shaping Your Life when I was fourteen. I stayed there until I graduated high school.


What led you/your family to OC?

My family found OC through word-of-mouth from friends in the homeschooling community. This came about at a time when we were looking for a way to expand our community and also looking for new and unique challenges to diversify our curriculum. OC was the perfect fit for both!


What have you been up to since leaving/graduating from OC?

After graduating from OC I attended Eastern University for four years. I recently graduated with degrees in Youth Ministry and Psychology. I am currently completing a year of service with AmeriCorps, working as a tutor at Great Oaks Charter School in downtown Wilmington, DE.


How did OC impact you? What did you find useful?

OC came into my life at a time when I was just starting to take education seriously and when I was just starting to come out of my shell. Attending OC did wonders in terms of helping me develop further in these two areas. I was given the opportunity to challenge myself and take ownership over my learning. OC offers such a unique experience in the fact that learning becomes an integrated part of one’s everyday life. That is something that has stuck with me as I have moved beyond OC. OC also provided the chance to exist within a dynamic community, fostering skills of leadership, teamwork, active listening, and the list goes on and on. Looking back, it’s clear how much of the way I interact with the world around me is influenced by what I learned at OC. OC taught respect and flexible thinking in ways that made them stick.


What would you have changed about OC?

It’s hard to think of something I would change about OC. For me personally, it was such a vitally important part of my youth and my education. Although it seems like a cop out, I have to say that I wouldn’t have changed anything about my experience at OC personally. Even aspects of the program that were difficult were just opportunities to be challenged and grow more.