Image: Elliot playing baseball and Elliot pictured with Antonio Brown. The Steelers wide receiver invited Elliot to play in his charity softball game.
Elliot Mast, PALCS senior of Blair County, is a student of many talents. First enrolling at PALCS in 2012 as a 7th grader, Elliot is now 18 and in the process of fulfilling his lifelong dream of playing Major League Baseball (MLB). Elliot is, as he puts it, a “baseball player, playing for a purpose.”
Elliot was born with a club foot and received help and care from the Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. In February of 2010, in gratitude of the care he received, Elliot decided to dedicate his baseball career to young patients by teaming up with The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation to raise awareness and funds for The Child Life Program, which is responsible for making sure the kids’ hospital experience is fun and not so frightening. Between toys, events, performances and special visits to provide entertainment and a distraction to sick children, The Child Life Program makes it their mission to make the patients’ hospital stays as fun and as positive as they can. Within the last 5 years, Elliot has raised more than $21,000 for the foundation. “Money raised for this fund makes sure that kids can still be kids – and not just patients – when they’re at Children’s Hospital,” Elliot explained. To learn more about Elliot’s fundraising work, visit http://ElliotMast.blogspot.com.
The Mast family first decided to enroll Elliot in cyber school because he needed a flexible schedule to work around–not only his baseball career, but his fundraising activities as well. Between his pre-season workouts, conditioning in the gym, tryouts, away games and his various charity auctions, a typical brick-and-mortar school schedule was out of the question. “Every student isn’t an 8-3 student, I do better late day and evening. Live classes make it nice to learn anywhere with technology,” said Elliot.
Flexibility was a key factor in determining where Elliot would finish out his high school career. Another concern was having access to his teachers; here at PALCS, all teachers work from one of our four offices in the state and are readily available to give their students individualized attention. “When looking at a brick-and-mortar school, you are a number, whereas when you are with PALCS, you are a person with individual needs, successes and goals. It was the absolute best thing for me,” Elliot exclaimed. Choosing PALCS for the flexibility, supportive teachers, and personalized experience has proven to be the right choice for Elliot.
Before PALCS, school was not always a positive experience for the young athlete. Starting out at his local district’s brick-and-mortar, Elliot felt like they did not see him as individual. “I was diagnosed with ADHD and my brick-and-mortar school wanted me to get on medication because I didn’t fit into their mold. PALCS allowed me to learn my own way and I have been successful,” Elliot said. He credits communication with PALCS teachers and their encouragement as the key to his success in school, as well as is parents teaching him to have a strong work ethic. With the help of his teachers and determination, he did not need medication, he needed individualized attention that has allowed him to focus and reach his goals. “I enjoy working with my counselor, Ms. DiPaolo, who helps me to go after my education goals, as well as baseball dreams,” he said.
When asked if socialization was ever a concern when enrolling at PALCS, Elliot described himself as a social butterfly. While he still plays baseball for his local school district and has taken advantage of the events he is still able to attend there, he has also taken advantage of the socialization offered here at PALCS. “I’ve developed great friendships with many students from PALCS classes and even had some friends join me in the decision to go cyber. PALCS schedules field trips and activities that allow you to get involved even more,” he said.
As of today, Elliot plays baseball for his local district’s high school team as well as two travel baseball teams. This is a very big year for Elliot, as not only is his PALCS graduation coming up this June, but it is also the 2017 MLB draft. There are nine MLB teams currently interested in Elliot and he is currently projected to be drafted between the 15th and 20th round. He is hoping that his playing this season will allow him to go with in the first 10 rounds. As Elliot puts it, “it is all about setting goals and smashing them.” One goal that he reached was receiving a scholarship to play baseball in college. After receiving multiple offers from Division 1 schools to Junior Colleges, Elliot has committed to Chesapeake College, a junior college in Maryland known for their baseball program. Elliot chose to go the Junior College route because it allows him to keep his draft eligibility for the next few years, hopefully allowing him to reach his goal of playing in the MLB. As a man of many interests, Elliot’s goals do not stop there. With an interest in psychology and sociology, he hopes one day to open his own sports psychology practice to help players strengthen the mental side of their games.
We would like to thank Elliot for taking the time to speak with us and share all of his tremendous accomplishments thus far. We cannot wait to see what his bright future holds and are so proud to have him represent PALCS. Visit ElliotMast.blogspot.com to learn more about all of Elliot’s accomplishments and goals both in baseball and fundraising, and view videos of Elliot’s charity and baseball scouting videos on YouTube.