Photo by Christine Prisk
Clark Eselgroth is a high school student at North Carolina Connections Academy (NCCA). As a dedicated ballet dancer, he needed to find a schooling option that would allow him to balance ballet training with schoolwork. His sister had previously tried private online school, so when NCCA opened its doors, Clark knew this would be a perfect fit. Below he shares more about what about NCCA works for him.
“NCCA allows me the flexibility to pursue a dance career while still earning a high school diploma in a way that works for me. I like getting to know my teachers and knowing that they see both my strengths in school and dance. I can contact my teachers by phone or WebMail, get a quick response, and move ahead with what I’m working on. They are also in close touch with my mom, who is my Learning Coach, and I know she has had more contact with them than when I was in traditional school. My teachers have also been a part of my ‘in-person life,’ supporting me through challenges with illness or injury, and to celebrate achievements. My math and science teachers, Ms. Hair and Ms. Creten, even brought their families to see me perform in the Nutcracker ballet this December.
I am passionate about ballet: training, performing, and learning. I enrolled in NCCA so I could have as much time to train as possible, even during the summer months when I attend programs in different locations around the country. I also compete in ballet events, such as the Youth America Grand Prix and American Dance Competition, and I’m able to take my laptop (and my schoolwork) with me on these trips. When I was in traditional school, I was very limited in to the time I had to train and still get homework done.
I am looking forward to starting a traineeship with a US or European ballet company when I finish high school. As far as college, I expect that my dance path will come first and college plans will become clearer during that journey. Many professional ballet dancers earn their college degrees once they are in a company or after they retire to make the most of their best years as a dancer. I also have friends who plan to take online college courses during their trainee or apprentice years in a company—this might be a path I take, too, since I’m now used to online courses. Having experience in online learning and communicating with teachers has prepared me well for college or jobs that require this way of working.”
NCCA allows me the flexibility to pursue a dance career while still earning a high school diploma in a way that works for me. I like getting to know my teachers and knowing that they see both my strengths in school and dance.