LONDON, ONT. -- The transition from in-class to online learning has been a challenge for many students, as they find themselves up against some new roadblocks.

However, a Grade 12 student at Montcalm Secondary School in London is facing those challenges head on and he’s doing so without the ability to see. Alan Kalash was born visually impaired.

Kalash says some subjects, like science, are especially difficult for him to understand outside of the classroom.

“Sometimes, my teacher will tell me to look at the picture. But for me, I have to touch the picture to get it,” Kalash explains.

Kalash is an 18-year-old Syrian refugee. In 2017, he moved to Canada with his family, unable to speak English.

Three years later, he is a vibrant and outgoing member of his school community who has embraced online learning.

“I do it for myself. Not for the teachers, not for the school, for myself. I want to go to university to become a teacher or a computer technology expert."

Despite the online barriers that he has come across, Kalash is fiercely determined to reach his goal.

Through the online platform Google Meet, his vision support teacher, Leslee Johnston, has been able to help him troubleshoot some of the difficulties that he has had trying to access programming from his teachers.

“He has had some challenges, but he has risen to them and has embraced online learning,” says Johnston. “He knows there are things that he doesn’t need to do, but he wants to do them to better himself, he wants to come out of this with more skills and more advanced learning.”

Kalash says he is using his time to work on bettering himself, and he hopes his peers will do the same.

“Be safe. Stay home. We will get through this situation, for sure.”