Elaina Russo is a mom of three children at Portsmouth Christian Academy and the Director of Admissions.
My family came to PCA 8 years ago. We live in Massachusetts, and at the time that we were exploring kindergarten options for our son, PCA continued to show up in our online search results. We never imagined when we purchased our home in Massachusetts that we would end up sending our son to a private school in New Hampshire. We were intimidated by the distance and the cost – and as a mom, I was concerned about my son being so far away – but as we explored the school, prayed about the decision, and met with the faculty and staff, our fears gave way to expectant trust. What started out as “let’s-see-how-it-goes-this-first-year” has turned into 8 years – and two more children – being a part of the PCA community.
I love how my children are challenged to live up to the biblical standard of excellence in all facets of their education at PCA – academics, fine arts, extracurriculars – and that PCA honors that call to excellence by differentiating for the different skillsets of my individual children.
The PCA program is holistic in that it endeavors to build curiosity in the minds of children across all of the disciplines. It works on healthy habits of mind. It under-girds the children spiritually. It challenges the kids academically. It offers the full breadth of offerings that typical “big schools” offer in terms of fine arts, athletics, academics and extracurricular activities. It tackles the tough areas – from reigniting a waning love of learning to navigating friendship frictions to lending wisdom on decision-making to managing consequences of mistakes. And while that would seem to be enough to capture the “holistic” idea, PCA goes beyond that. As a parent, they equip me with research and tips and techniques to help inform my role as a mother. PCA provides tools that we can use at home, makes opportunities for me to connect with other parents, and solicits my feedback regularly. This is the kind of holistic that goes beyond just the student and the academic school day, and it’s the reason we continue to make the commitment to be a part of PCA.
Faith and learning are intricately woven together in the classroom. Right now my son is simultaneously studying the book of Genesis in his Bible class AND ancient civilizations in his social studies class. That’s an obvious tie-in. A little less-obvious are things like the STEM unit on butterflies in kindergarten where my kids were learning about metamorphosis and how that unique stage is part of God’s master design of our world. When the kids are at the waterfront and they’re surveying water samples, the idea of appreciating God beauty in this idyllic setting is reinforced. Through classroom discussion, the students are expected to apply the standards and worldview of Christianity to thought and behavior.
I have witnessed PCA students praying for each other and over each other during difficult times, sending words of encouragement or praise, celebrating strengths and milestones, and lifting each other through trials. Students genuinely care about each other, and because they are taught to serve others – in words and in action – there is a consistency of compassion and care throughout the student body
Based on my experience as a PCA parent, I knew that I wanted to become involved in the school on another level. Now, I have the privilege of serving as the Director of Enrollment. In this role, I work with new families to share the mission of PCA and how we deliver on that day-to-day. I also interact with our current families throughout re-enrollment each year. I oversee PCA’s Variable Tuition program for all families. Finally, I sit on the leadership team at PCA, helping steer vision, policy and execution of programs.
I love engaging with families and seeing that spark in their eye when they see the potential for their child. I love that I am surrounded by peers who will challenge me to do my best and who lift each other–as well as students and their families–in prayer every day.
For as long as the Lord wills it, our family will be a part of the PCA community.