Pacific Collegiate Foundation
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Students Testimonials


PCS came at an important time in my life. I transferred in as a tenth grader and PCS changed me more than any other educational institution had. PCS taught me how to be a more complete human being, how to incorporate fervent study into an active social calendar, how to open up to the opportunities presented to me and, if need be, how to create and seize the opportunities I wanted. It elevated me to a point from which I could leap into the new adventure that has become my life, and it left a permanent Puma print on my heart. The speech I gave at my college graduation was inspired by the galvanizing teachings of Mr. Hansen; my passion for perfection was inspired by my fear and respect for Ms. Whittier; Mr. Graves introduced me to Howard Zinn’s insightful look at history, which later pushed me onto a path of ancient discovery; and Mr. Steely’s dogged determination to see me succeed pushed me to graduate in the first place. I will be forever grateful to PCS for these people and many more who helped create the brightest future I could have hoped for!

Margaux Hodges (2005)
San Francisco State University




PCS did a great job preparing me for college. When I talk to many of my friends about their high school experiences, I realize how much stronger the academics at PCS are compared to the schools they attended. In particular, the English teachers at PCS did a remarkable job of teaching how to write essays, and the enthusiasm the teachers showed really made an impact, too.

John Hiesey (2007)
Stanford University




I'm happy, grateful, and so proud to have spent six unforgettable years studying at Pacific Collegiate School. I transferred to PCS two months into seventh grade, and the supportive and welcoming staff, faculty, and students made the transition easy. I was immediately challenged in every class and discussion. I gained a strong appreciation for visual art, science, writing, and public speaking, and I was particularly inspired by my enthusiastic teachers and my fellow music students. Seven years after graduating from PCS, I'm a professional saxophonist and a high school music teacher in New York City. I never would have developed such a deep love for music if I hadn't been around so many talented and motivated people at a young age. PCS helped make me the teacher, musician, and person I am today.

Ben Flocks (2007)
New School




PCS gave me the opportunity to flourish in college at one of the most beautiful and uniquely supportive communities I have ever known. Since college, the true rewards of growing up in Santa Cruz and attending PCS have been revealed to me almost daily. My teachers and experiences at PCS helped teach me to value education, not only because of the transfer of expansive information, but because of the awesome power that personal investment in other beings has to change lives.

Veronique Whittaker (2007)
Bard College




I reflected recently about my PCS experiences as I was transitioning on to a new team at Google and spending lots of time reading up on documentation for my new job. I realized that the most practical skill I had ever been taught was how to read a source, and glean and retain its useful information-- writing outlines in AP world history was the best training method! This skill was useful in nearly every single class I took in college, and continues to be very practical in "the real world". For this I need to publicly thank Ms. Firenzi and, dare I say, the entire AP curriculum. I also really appreciate the closeness of the PCS community and how it facilitated lasting student-teacher relationships. Not only to I keep in touch with some of my teachers from PCS, but this emphasis helped me form similar relationships with my college professors. The curriculum and community at PCS totally prepared me for my next steps in life. I am so excited that the school continues to grow and thrive.

Chloe Stevens (2009)
Swarthmore College




PCS taught me a lot of concrete things that were incredibly useful in college and beyond, but since I majored in philosophy I'll focus on abstractions. My English teachers taught me that once you understand the reason for a rule, you can decide when you may break it. My math and science teachers taught me to test ideas against my core commitments and the evidence available in the world around me. As a whole, my teachers taught me to challenge myself and, in spite of AP exams, to learn things because they are interesting and not because they will be on a test. And above all, my classmates and my teachers formed a community that taught me that while academic achievements are well worth the effort, seeing the value in those around us is more important.

Ben Farkas (2009)
Princeton University, Yale University




What I value so much about PCS is how it brought out an independence in me that I always had but couldn't figure out how to harness. Through bringing schooling to students in a new and creative way, PCS made me truly enjoy learning for the first time in my life. Though I might not have taken the traditional path, I am so grateful for the preparation PCS gave me. I frequently and gratefully reflect on how valuable my PCS experiences were for me.

Reilly Meehan (2009)
Oregon Coast Culinary Institute




PCS taught me that nothing is unattainable if you are motivated enough to pursue it, especially when you’re surrounded by people who share your passion to get there. This lesson was probably the greatest gift PCS could have ever given me. I am also grateful to PCS for my academic preparation and the AP program, both of which enabled me to spend my time in college studying what I truly love.

Gus Samios (2011)
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo




PCS left a great impact on my life and I don't know where I would be without the education and support I received there. The relationships PCS cultivated among me, other students, and the faculty are something I will treasure the rest of my life. Academically, I was prepared for the intense honors curriculum I am now studying now and my writing skills are at the top of my class, thanks to the PCS English Department. Above all, PCS taught me to be fearless and to take advantage of every new opportunity. By constantly pushing myself out of my comfort zone (a skill imparted to me by many PCS teachers), I am always learning new things. I am extremely grateful for everything PCS offered me and wholeheartedly believe the school changed me for the better.

Rose Leopold (2012)
Northeastern University