Parents – what do you do when you start to realize that your child is not only incredibly talented, but is one of the best?
That thought crossed the mind of Vera D’Alessandro from time to time as she watched her daughters Rayna and Gionna rack up the wins in local and national dance competitions through elementary school. While both of the D’Alessandro sisters compete nationally, Rayna, 10 is the current Miss Extreme Talent of the United States and Petite Miss VIP Dance national title holder.
Two years ago, Vera made the choice to enroll both of her daughters, at PA Virtual Charter School, an online public charter school. This decision allows the girls to dedicate hours a day to not only take high level ballet, contemporary and lyrical classes at Ultimate Dance Complex in McMurray, but also receive individual instruction from UDC’s coaches.
Both girls practice dance approximately 15-22 hours per week, thanks to the flexible scheduling of PA Virtual. Rayna has been dancing since she was 18 months old, and dreams of one day competing on the hit Fox TV show So You Think You Can Dance or landing a Broadway lead.
“Rayna has always been naturally talented, but when she was given the time to dedicate to practice the amount of hours she wanted to, she began to soar,” said Vera. “Enrolling both girls balanced our hectic schedule – they can complete school work early in the morning or late at night, and take their laptops when traveling so they never fall behind.”
After enrolling at PA Virtual, it was discovered that Rayna was dyslexic. Dyslexia is one of the most common reading disorders and can have a negative ripple effect in a child’s educational journey when left undiagnosed. Through the support of teachers and staff at PA Virtual, she has been given the tools to successfully navigate the virtual classroom, like one-on-one assistance or extra time to process and understand class materials.
“We are in the Pittsburgh area, so our Family Support Coordinator is Amy Markle,” said Vera. “During our first year with the school, Amy was tremendous with helping our family transition to the school and really made us feel like part of the PA Virtual community.”
Could PA Virtual be what your child needs to take the next step in their athletic or arts career? Request more information and see if a cyber education is a good fit for your family!
Interested in reading more about these talented sisters? Check out this recent feature in The Almanac.