Students puruse their passions as professionals

When one thinks of professional, common images of a man with a briefcase, talking on his Blackberry or a woman in a long white coat running into an emergency room may come to mind. The image of a high school student isn’t usually expected, but that’s exactly what these students are.

At the beginning of high school students are told to get involved in productive extracurricular activities to get experience in fields they might be interested in pursuing.

Seniors Laura Barela and Miranda Boyd, junior Skylar Holloway and sophomore Emily Eisert have all taken these preparations a step further through extensive programs which require them to devote both time and effort in order to benefit them in the future.

Barela is a passionate ice skater involved in the World In-Line Figure Skating Association, which provides her with year-round training and competitions, since ice skating is a year-round sport. She trains five days a week for ice skating and once a week for in-line skating. Each session is two to three hours.

Boyd is involved in a two-year fashion program held at Fairfax Academy. She said she wants to pursue fashion design or fashion illustration as a future career as well as attend the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.

She travels to Fairfax High School every day during her last period for Academy, which she said can become extremely stressful and time consuming.

Holloway is aiming high in her future by striving for a tennis scholarship. She is involved in a high performance camp called College Park, which provides her with basic training for tournaments.

 She said she hopes to attend a college with a tennis program so she can continue her passion after high school. Some colleges have already contacted Holloway because coaches observed her performances in summer tournaments.

“It’s pretty exciting because they want me to play for their team out of all the other kids, but it’s also nerve racking because I don’t want to mess up my chances. I really need to focus for the rest of the year,” Holloway said.

She attends practice three to four days a week, for three hours each. Because her practice schedule is so extensive, she is allowed to leave early from school during her last period classes only.

Eisert is a part of the Washington School of Ballet, where she was asked to join a Pro-Training program. This required her to participate in a four hour practice every day to prepare her for upcoming performances, such as “The Nutcracker” and smaller group pieces held at the Kennedy Center.

Stress is a huge element in the lives of these student professionals; it manifests itself primarily in schoolwork. With long practices and rehearsals, there is little time left to do homework, but the students have to find a balance between the two.

Holloway said, “Sometimes school is hard and the homework is stressful, but I can’t hide away from my troubles. However, it feels great to get away from it during my tennis practices.”