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by Anna, Grade 9

I am a figure skater.  I skate 6 days a week, training before most people are even awake.  I am working hard on landing my jumps, perfecting my spins, excelling at footwork and, while rigor and repetition are important, I believe the key for me has been balance.

...balance in life... is the kind of balance I get at PCS.

When I say balance, I know people form a mental image of me, spinning on the ice, gracefully poised, on steel blades just 1/8 of an inch thick.  While I can indeed do that, this is not the kind of balance I mean.  I mean  balance as in balance in life,  and that is the kind of balance I get at PCS.
When my parents used to drive me to my previous school after my morning skating lessons, I would feverishly work to take all the pins out of my bun, and let my hair down.  I never wanted my school friends to know too much about my skating.  Somehow, I didn’t think they would have approved of a lifestyle so different from their own.  In retrospect, I see that I was metaphorically taking off my skating persona to prepare myself for school.  Either I was a skater or I was a student.  My two lives were completely separate, and my friends in one would not have recognized the Anna in the other.

PCS has allowed me to balance everything, and to keep all my doors open.  But most importantly, PCS allows me to be me.

All that changed last year when I came to PCS.  I started leaving my hair in a bun.  I realized I could talk to my classmates about skating because they all understood how important it was to me.  Whether they were dancers, actors, or musicians, they all felt the same way about their professions as I did about mine.  As the two parts of my life came together, I noticed that the bond I felt with my PCS friends was every bit as deep as the deepest bond I shared with my skating friends. I found that balance, and it helped me be true to myself.

Another interesting thing happened.  Some of my skating friends dropped out.  As middle school grew more demanding, several of my friends let skating slip away.  It makes me feel sad, but also very grateful to PCS, for allowing me to skate seriously, without compromising my education.  I have that perfect balance, the best of both worlds.

PCS has helped me achieve balance in my life in other ways too.  I play the flute in an orchestra.  I also study piano, but my weekly lesson is just for fun.  I draw and paint at an art school and have had some of my work exhibited in France.  I love French  and take it here at PCS, but I want to be able to speak fluent Hebrew as well and I am working with a tutor at home.   All these things contribute to a hectic, but rewarding life.  At any other school, I wouldn’t be able to pursue all my interests. I would have to sacrifice hobbies for homework.  There would be little time for pleasure reading, spending time with my sister, or having sleepovers at my cousins'.  PCS has allowed me to balance everything, and to keep all my doors open.   But most importantly, PCS allows me to be me.

June 2014