Alumni form Dreadlight

By Kenzie Waterman, The Charter Features

Alliance Charter Academy has been around for eleven years now and many students have come and gone, but what they took with them, the life lessons, the experiences, and the friendships, those are just as important as the education they got.  I interviewed two ACA graduates, Kandra Tolvstad, class of 2017 and Toria Beck, class of 2015, to see how ACA and the people here have affected their life after high school, as well as the former ACA director, Lara Fabrycki about how she thinks she impacted students’ lives.

Kandra and Toria met in Band Project here at ACA and now have their own band “Dreadlight”.


  1. Where did you go to college?


K: I am currently attending Clackamas Community College, pursuing a degree in Music Performance and Tech and also becoming a certified music technician!


T: I’m also going to CCC to become a music technician and to also explore other arts like film and animation.


  1. How did ACA affect your future?


K: Having the ability to take college classes in high school REALLY prepared me for college! After becoming so comfortable with ACA’s culture the idea of college freaked me out a lot but ACA allowed me to ease into it by taking classes I was interested in AND get credits that helped me graduate.


T: I think it really allowed me to grow and have experiences that I otherwise wouldn’t have gotten from the public schooling system. I felt that everyone there genuinely cared about me and what I was interested in and didn’t hesitate to support me in my passions and dreams- it’s something I’ll always be grateful for!


  1. What is your favorite memory of ACA?


K: Being in Band Project was by far my favorite experience and it’s where I met Toria!


T: I think Band Project was also some of my favorite memories of ACA. It really pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me to grow as a musician and an individual. My current band wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Band Project!


  1. What is your career?


K: I’m a performing musician and aspiring audio engineer. I plan to make a living off of working in a recording studio and gigs!


T: That’s a tough one! If I had to narrow it down I’d just say musician, but that includes a lot of different things, like recording, performing, and songwriting.


  1. Is that the career you thought you would end up when you came to ACA or left ACA?


K: I’ve wanted to be a singer since I was really little, so I’d say my career path has stayed the same basically my whole life it’s just expanded!


T: It definitely was not! I think I was in 5th grade when first enrolled in ACA. I don’t even remember what I wanted to be back then, somewhere between a veterinarian and a ballerina I believe, but I had terrible stage fright and never imagined I would become a musician!


  1. What would you do differently if you could be back at ACA?


K: Study more for sure! There’s so much cool stuff that was taught that I’d wish I’d paid more attention to in class.


T: I’d definitely make more friends! I was always the shy, awkward kid and didn’t really talk much!


  1. How long were you at ACA for?


K: Ten long years!


T: Eight years!


  1. What do you miss about ACA?


K: I miss the closeness between all the students, since ACA has a much smaller population than most schools it’s hard to find that anywhere else.


T: I just miss the whole idea of it! It’s just so weird to grow up with the same students and teachers your entire childhood and then suddenly be out in the open world away from all that. I also really miss pizza day- those were the best.


  1. How did or didn’t ACA prepare you for where you are now?


K: Ironically, ACA’s more laid back attitude prepared me for my college work load by being totally different. They always tell you that college is so much harder and more intimidating than high school and that’s kind of true. Some college professors will be your absolute best friends but they still expect your homework turned in on time no exceptions. At ACA any of my teachers will tell you that I was a slacker (I was) but somehow at CCC I have a 4.0 and I’ve never missed a class because I know that as an adult it’s my responsibility to manage everything for myself, I have no room to slack.


T: I think that the values, class options, and overall atmosphere of ACA really played a key role in how well I was prepared for life after it. For one, there was a lot of emphasis on classes not offered (or at least required)  in traditional schooling, like personal finance, that still help me today. On the other hand, I believe that the somewhat sheltered atmosphere of ACA didn’t help me prepare for some of the realities of the world, but that’s often just the truth about  ‘homeschool life’.

  1. Have you had any takeaways or things you wish you knew then?


K: This sounds cliche but I really wish I’d realized that being myself will attract the type of friends that like me for who I am not who I pretended to be.


T: I definitely wish I knew that people’s opinions of me don’t matter and that it’s okay to slip up sometimes.



Tolvstad, Kandra. Email interview.

January 18, 2018


Beck, Toria. Email interview.

January 18, 2018