Before coming to Premier Academy, recently named valedictorian Nicholas Potter said he struggled with school.

Potter, the son of Jason and Stephanie Collier, transferred to Premier from Bangs after his sophomore year and thanks to its do-it-yourself style of learning he plans to enter the workforce immediately after graduating with the intent to start his own car audio business.

“I was behind a little bit at Bangs,” Potter said. “Going to Premier allowed me to focus on doing it myself rather than having a teacher shove it in my face and force me to do it.”

Potter said some Premier students struggle after transferring because the program requires self-discipline. Instead of using it as an opportunity to catch up after falling behind at their previous institutions, the often fall further behind and exacerbate their struggles.

Potter said there is a flip side, and students whom are self disciplined excel and in some cases graduate early. In his case, he taught himself about car audio and will use those lessons when he starts his own business.

“I want to get my own business started, but I thought about working at a shop to get more experience,” Potter said. “It’s a lot to take in at the moment … [Valedictorian] feels pretty good. I was not expecting this. I’ve been working and being really busy at the 4-H, where I cook and clean, but the biggest thing I want to do is car audio. I’m a big car audio fan.”

Potter said he learned to take the initiative and learn the finer points of car audio for himself. He believes his skills would be a benefit to any automotive shops looking for an extra hand, but his long-term goal is to go into business for himself and doing what he loves.

“I’ve always loved music,” Potter said. “I’ve been into car audio since I was 16 and everything I know now I taught myself  … Ohms, I taught myself that. I did not have anyone teaching me. It’s a self-motivated thing.”