Kate Lord ('17): Take Initiative by Haley Tilt
When she graduated in 2017, Kate knew college was for her. She’s now a Junior at UArts, and loves her Music, Business, Entrepreneurship, and Technology program. But five years ago, Kate might not have looked college-bound. By the time she enrolled at PFS, she had largely stopped attending her high school: “it just wasn’t going to work for me.
Arriving at PFS, she saw things would be different. There were no instructions and no requirements. It took her awhile to adjust, but after a few weeks of boredom, she started spending hours in the music room and got deep into the democratic processes of the school.
When Kate decided to go to college, her friends and family worried she might struggle with the structured routine of classes and assignments, but she said the adjustment hasn’t been problematic: “it was all stuff I wanted to do, otherwise I wouldn’t have done it.” Where Kate found she had academic gaps, she knew it was her responsibility to fill them, and she did.
The biggest adjustment for Kate hasn’t been academic, but cultural: “there’s a lot of people who don’t go to class or get involved because they don’t actually want to be here. For many people, there’s a lot of pressure to go straight to college. Making that decision on my own left me feeling really sure that this is where I want to be. I think that’s been the biggest transition - being around people who aren’t as committed to participating and being part of the process and the community. But that’s not just a UArts problem, that’s a world problem.” Like a true community organizer, Kate speaks of building her own community: “there are pockets of people who are motivated and doing stuff, and I’ve started identifying them.” She credits PFS for her mover and doer attitude: “there’s nothing that teaches you responsibility like making real decisions that have a real impact on a community.”
Kate takes that initiative and passion into everything she does. Although she’s also a musician, Kate especially loves producing music: “being part of another artist’s vision is really interesting and beautiful.” When she graduates, Kate’s considering a career in arts education because she wants to help other people pursue their passions: “PFS gave me the space and time to figure out what I wanted. I want others to have that opportunity too.”
PFS: Real learning. Real results. To support, please consider contributing to our Annual Appeal fundraiser: https://phillyfreeschool.org/help-out.