Bela Tinaj was the only girl in her grade at ARS from kindergarten through fifth grade. Every spring, before re-enrolling, her parents made sure that she wanted to remain at ARS. "It seemed normal to me," she explained, adding that ARS gave her a strong base both academically and emotionally. "ARS had a big role in molding me into who I am."
The result? A "seamless" transition in sixth grade to 150 students per grade at Horace Mann, where people were surprised at her confidence! Her biggest adjustment was to the physical environment, including changing classes, but she embraced the expanded range of activities. Bela is a leader in the debate club and participates in volleyball and She's the First, a club that works to promote STEM education in countries where the majority of girls lack access to school. She writes for a science publication and a humanitarian collective that is organizing a Women in STEM conference this fall with girls from around the world.
"I think Luka and I are at the safest two schools in New York!" she said, having compared both school's reopening plans and found that they've done similar rollouts. She had a ready answer for what she would say to NYC Schools Chancellor Carranza if given the opportunity: "If you would not put your child in one of the schools, don't expect parents to do so either. Stay remote until all schools can follow the CDC guidelines for safe reopening."
The high school sophomore is gravitating towards a future science career, perhaps in medicine, engineering or research, following in her mother's footsteps, a biochemist and biophysicist who currently works on Covid-19.
Lucas is on the varsity track team and is an avid piano player, participating in annual recitals at Steinway Hall, and credits his ARS teachers for helping to develop those talents. Already looking ahead, he is interested in studying architectural design or engineering in college.
Bela stays in touch with her former ARS classmates and would welcome the chance to reconnect at a young alumni gathering as soon as it is safe to do so! Thanks for sharing your story, Bela!
Missing ARS? Drop in any time to just visit, or do more if you’re inclined - help with projects, office support, and fundraising. Be a big brother or sister to a current student! High school and college students can support our programs and students while gaining community service experience. Please email Polly Roston, email@example.com, to discuss volunteer opportunities.
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