Hunched over a glowing iPhone in her Fort Collins apartment, Abby Millar looks at the screen and chats with her family as they sit at a restaurant 3,500 near their home miles away.
For the final stretch of her high school career, Abby has lived in Fort Collins, pursuing her creative passions at Polaris Expeditionary Learning School while her parents and three brothers have lived in Costa Rica. Her mom flies back and forth frequently to visit Abby, and she always has an adult in the home with her, but her teenage years have largely been an exercise in developing independence and self-sufficiency.
“Going into this setup wasn’t as weird as I thought it would be,” she said, sitting in front of a wall covered in her artwork. “It just feels like another way to support me to my next step.”
That independent streak will likely come in handy this fall, as she heads off to Parsons School of Design in New York City to study product design.
“Hopefully I’ll make something really powerful and cool, not just plastic objects that will sit on the shelves at Target and fill landfills,” she said. “Just by making something that’s really important to people and that can be reused and cherished can benefit the community.”