chenSteven and Julianna Chen are both students in the University Scholars Program (USP), but before exploring multiple course options at PALCS, they spent several years at a public school. While there, Steven encountered many teachers who simply gave him busywork and didn’t provide the help he felt he needed. He says, “The teachers weren’t always as supportive as the teachers that I’ve found at PALCS. The teachers here want you to come and ask for their help.”

Initially, Steven was attracted to PALCS because of its flexible schedule and the opportunity it presented for him to pursue his other interests, such as engineering. But the Chen family was immediately impressed by the school’s commitment to academics and the interactions that they had with several teachers. “When we came to look at the University Scholars Program,” Steven explains, “it was so friendly and inviting. We really liked the environment of the program.”

After seeing her brother’s experience during his first year at PALCS, Julianna decided she wanted to enroll, as well. In addition to her interest in USP, she was also excited to join the school’s Center for Performing and Fine Arts (CPFA). What’s more, both students were highly intrigued by the school’s yearly high school trip to Beijing. “Our dad is from Laos,” Julianna explains, “so we thought it would be a great experience to travel there.”

Though they’ve yet to take the trip to China, Steven and Julianna have enjoyed many other activities sponsored by PALCS. “The school field trips are very educational but interactive and fun at the same time,” says Steven. “The teachers put time and effort into planning out what the students will do and that plays a key part in how they learn.”

Julianna’s favorite part about her experience with PALCS is the way the school works around her schedule. “If you have other commitments or you want to do something outside of school,” she says, “PALCS gives you the flexibility to be able to focus on your academics but also explore other areas of the arts, engineering, or anything you want to do.”