Thanks to a full-time courseload with Launch, Northwest High School student Alac Gamble is spending his senior year playing hockey in the Windy City.
Access Launch: How long have you been a Launch student?
Alac Gamble: Last semester was my first time taking Launch courses.
Access: Why did you decide to utilize Launch courses for your learning?
A.G.: I play for the Chicago Cougars, a junior hockey league team in Illinois. I knew that some of my friends who have played junior hockey in the past had done online school, so instead of transferring to a school in Chicago, I decided to do the same. I talked to my high school, and they told me that they had just started working with Launch. It was great—they allowed me to pick my classes and what I needed so I can graduate.
Access: What have been some of your favorite Launch courses?
A.G.: Last semester I took Liberty & Law. I liked that class because I enjoy history, and the teacher I had was really knowledgeable and would always get back to me quickly if I had questions. I also took English 4, and I enjoyed that because I’m really good at English. The teacher I had provided good information, and we did a lot of interesting projects that helped me gain more knowledge in the English field.
Access: It sounds like you’ve had some pretty great teachers! What have you enjoyed most about working with Launch teachers?
A.G.: You really have that one-on-one interaction with the teacher whenever you need it, and they have the ability to make personal connections with each student. Joshua Douglas, my Liberty & Law teacher, would send out announcements every week, making sure everyone was caught up on work. He encouraged us to get ahead and turn the work in on time.
Access: Has it been easy to navigate Canvas, Launch’s LMS?
A.G.: Yes. I really like how it tells me what I need to have done each day. It shows me all of my due dates, and I always make sure I’m a day ahead of them.
Access: Tell me more about Junior League Hockey. How does that differ from a typical club or high school team?
A.G.: Unlike most sports where you can go straight to college and play, hockey has become so big that you can’t just go through college to get noticed. The Junior League helps athletes get looked at for college and gives us a better chance to get noticed. My parents encouraged me to do it because it really prepares you for college and to be away from home and on your own.
Access: What does a typical day look like for you?
A.G.: I wake up around 10 a.m. and drive to the rink to start working out at 12 p.m. We’re in the gym until about 2 p.m., and then we have an 80-minute practice that starts at 2:30 p.m. After practice we have the rest of the day off, so I come home, eat dinner and then work on my classes the rest of the night.
Access: What position do you play for the Chicago Cougars?
A.G.: I play both defense and forward. I enjoy defense because it’s physical, but I like playing forward because I can actually go end-to-end and get more goals.
Access: When does the Junior Hockey season start and end?
A.G.: My season started on my birthday—August 22. It lasts until around March 16.
Access: When did you start playing hockey?
A.G.: I started playing at age 4, as soon as my family moved to Missouri. My parents are both in the military, so we moved around a lot.
Access: What are some of your other hobbies?
A.G.: Right now, I pretty much only have time for hockey and school. I also like to play video games on Xbox and hang out with my friends.
Access: Have your friends missed you since you’ve been in Chicago?
A.G.: Yeah. As soon as I get back, all my friends start asking to hang out. I just stopped telling them when I was coming back because they’d all be texting me at one time! I actually did come up here with my best friend, who plays on the team, too. He graduated last year, though.
Access: What social media platforms do you use?
A.G.: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat—all of the ones we’re using these days.
Access: What is your favorite NHL team?
A.G.: The Boston Bruins.
Access: What are your post-high school plans or goals?
A.G.: I would like to play hockey for Missouri State University and get a degree in Accounting and Business. I love math, and MSU has a good program, so that’s what I’ve had my eye on.
Access: What is your dream job?
A.G.: I would like to own my own accounting firm.
Access: What would you tell another student about the experience you have had with Launch?
A.G.: It was definitely a good idea to take online courses through Launch. I’ve learned a lot from it, which I don’t think people can always say about online classes! Launch classes have made me think and require me to put in time, because they are actually real courses, and that is a good thing!