Savannah Cantrell has been home-schooled her entire life.
“I don’t believe I would be the person I am today if I hadn’t been home-schooled,” Cantrell said.
The 18-year-old lives in Clermont with her three siblings and parents and is also dual enrolled at Truett McConnell University.
“(Being home-schooled) has allowed me to do things that someone that may be in the regular school system wouldn’t,” Cantrell said.
Cantrell and her siblings, who also play together in a band called Sweet Tea and the Bluegrass Boys, have been able to learn together.
In 2015, the siblings won first place at the Southeastern Bluegrass Association competition.
Cantrell is also an award-winning clogger.
She is learning violin, performs with her band, teaches beginning fiddle lessons and directs a group of dancers, Spitfire Cloggers, teaching weekly lessons for the past four years.
Home schooling has also given Cantrell a strong relationship with her mom, she said.
“She has been able to focus on things more in depth that I enjoy studying, which may not be the case if I was in a regular school system,” Cantrell said.
Faith is one area she wouldn’t be able to study in depth in public school.
“I have also been able to travel and have field trips with my family for a school trip,” Cantrell said.
Being at Truett McConnell and being in co-ops with other home-schooled students has allowed Cantrell to make friends outside of her immediate family and have a social life.
“Oftentimes people believe home-schoolers don’t get out and have any friends other than their siblings,” Cantrell said.
She has been accepted to Piedmont College, where she hopes to pursue a degree this fall majoring in art therapy and minoring in music.
“I plan on working with special-needs children, possibly in the school system,” Cantrell said. She’s currently shadowing a musical therapist at Challenged Child and Friends of Gainesville and had previously taught swimming lessons to special-needs students.
For the past two summers Savannah has served as a lifeguard and swimming instructor for the former White County YMCA and present Parks and Recreation Department.
It’s a lot of work juggling everything she has to do in a week.
“It’s extremely hard to find free time, but I usually find some short free time in order relieve some of my stress from school. I make the most of the free time that I have because I know how valuable time is,” Cantrell said.
However, she believes it will all be worth it. When she graduates from the home-school program, she will also be graduating from Truett McConnell with 30 hours of college credit.
“So basically I’ll have my freshman year somewhat finished,” she said.