Vork left in September to spend her junior year in high school at Interlochen Academy for the Arts, located near Traverse, Mich.
"The Michigan graduation standards are not as strict as Minnesota, so I had most of my credits completed. I take a British literature course, Algebra II, and all music majors must take theory and musicship," Vork said. Mornings are for classroom instruction and in the afternoons, the musicians meet in groups to practice.
She spends two hours a day with the band practicing, takes private French horn lessons once a week, and attends chamber singing classes.
Vork explained her school week runs from Tuesday to Saturday allowing students time for college visits. Vork added spring break is three weeks long, giving the international students time to go home for visits.
Vork stays in a dorm with a complex of suites. Her roommate is a piano major from Japan. The girls in the other suite are a composition major and a dancer.
"Our classes are more difficult because more is expected from the students," Vork said. "I love school, everybody is devoted to their major."
"Each day, students have a tutorial period from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. During this time, students concerned about keeping their grades up can get extra help," Vork added. "No television is allowed during this period and everything is expected to be quiet. If you aren't studying in your textbooks, you are to be practicing your horn."
Besides music, Interlochen offers majors in drama, dance, and visual arts.
"I miss Paynesville, but I think I'll finish my senior year at Interlochen as it will better prepare me for my chosen career," Vork said. She added that e-mail has become a major part of her life because she e-mails her friends and family daily. The teachers also e-mail students with any class changes.
"Interlochen is a large campus and e-mail is the only reliable way of finding somebody," Vork said.
"At Interlochen, students know what they want to do with their lives and the courses help them achieve that goal," she added.
As part of the class lessons, the students do mock auditions before their peers. "I think our peers know our strengths and are kinder about our weaknesses than professionals," she said.
She is the daughter of Ken and Gretchen Vork. Both are musicians and Vork says that she grew up around music.
Vork said her goal is to play with a major orchestra some day.
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