youngMrs. Young knew her children were gifted, both artistically and academically. So when traditional education fell short of meeting their individual needs, she sought out the best opportunities for her children. Mrs. Young dreamed of a school that would inspire academic achievement while fostering artistic creativity. “When the whole charter school movement started to emerge, I thought, ‘This is the perfect modality to incorporate a performing arts component because of the flexibility.’” Researching charter schools on the Internet, she discovered that such a school already existed: Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School (PALCS).

Like many parents, Mrs. Young had felt the financial burden of providing additional arts training for her children and was excited to see that, as a public charter school, PALCS offers a tuition-free, quality academic education with a strong emphasis in the arts.. She described the PALCS onsite Center for the Performing and Fine Arts (CPFA) as an exceptional opportunity because it “removes barriers in art education and provides excellent education to any income bracket. The more opportunities you have, the more finely you can tune the education to the needs of your child.” As a former homeschool parent, she found cyber education and the CPFA to be the “perfect combination of going to school on-campus while maintaining a portion at home.”

Noah, Mrs. Young’s third son, enrolled in PALCS in the ninth grade. With a small class of 25 at CPFA, he immediately felt at home on audition day because of the “supportive and warm environment.” Mrs. Young explains, “Mark Allen, the director, has been very intentional in setting the tone of the program and that is something that is very near and dear to my heart.” Noah was able to earn good grades while pursuing his artistic passions. Mrs. Young believes CPFA gave Noah a sound foundation in music, self-confidence, and the ability to invest time into pursuing what he loves. Noah graduated in 2010 and received a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.

Evangeline, the youngest child of the Young family, has attended CPFA since sixth grade. She also be participates in the online portion of PALCS University Scholars Program for gifted students. “As a student at PALCS, Evangeline has had the opportunity to dedicate much of her time to her passion, acting. There is hardly a time when she is not either in a play, rehearsing for a play, or auditioning for another play, sometimes concurrently.” Mrs. Young also shared the joy of watching her blossoming artist have the opportunity to build friendships with like-minded students. “When she was at her friend’s house the other day, they made a silent movie together.”

PALCS has freed Evangeline to, “dedicate time to creative learning and endeavors while having the flexibility to do her schoolwork.” The PALCS umbrella of online learning, performing arts, and gifted programming has equipped Mrs. Young to “tailor Evangeline’s education to suit her needs.” She has found the cyber teachers to be, “extremely available, responsive and prompt at getting back to you. Cyber schooling allows us the flexibility to pursue acting. As a parent you are constantly weighing things, what is important for each of my children.”

Mrs. Young wanted to provide each of her children with the best opportunities available to cultivate their creativity and love of learning. PA Leadership Charter School made that possible.