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EHS Senior Spotlight: Meet Nina Pschar

nina The Coronavirus pandemic put a ‘twist’ in the academic high school learning experience at the end of last year and the start of this school year, your senior year.  This year will certainly be a different start than any other year. Do you have any ‘words of wisdom’ for your classmates to start the school year be it either virtual or an in-school learning experience? 

To my peers, the best advice I can offer is a reminder to stay compassionate. The circumstances we’re facing going into our senior year are unprecedented and unfortunate, but there is still so much we can do to help take care of ourselves and others. This semester is the time to focus on college applications and planning for our futures, which can quickly become overwhelming. I have found that remembering to come back to the present and thinking of all the ways I can help - wear a mask, physically distance, reach out to my friends- makes the situation much more manageable.  

How do you think students can stay involved in the school community?  

If you have an idea, run with it. While the shift to online classes means a sacrifice of a lot of group meetings, the reach of technology has proven itself to be our best friend in socially-distant times. We have to get a bit creative to find ways to stay in touch, but the end result is definitely worth it. Interacting with our newspaper, following the Ewing Instagram, and joining video calls when offered are great ways to still feel connected to the community.  

What advice do you have for students entering their freshman year at EHS like your brother?  

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. As I reflect on my freshman year, the memories that stand out are all the results of my efforts to make the most of my experience at EHS.  

Academically, stay focused. Keep a planner, get to know your classmates and teachers, and ask any questions you have. Good study habits are the result of diligent attention and consistent effort, and once you can manage your workload (no matter the load) academics are a lot less intimidating.  

What do you want people to know about Ewing High School that they might not know? 

I hope everybody knows how much EHS has to offer. I couldn’t have asked for a better environment to indulge myself in the English and History departments- from the variety of classes and clubs to the amazing teachers I interact with. If you’re more science inclined, there is no shortage of opportunity: our AP courses in natural and computer sciences and the Robotics team are pretty awesome! Not to mention theater, visual arts, and foreign languages. Your experience is largely what you make of it. At least from my experience, I feel more than prepared for college.   

In which activities do you participate in school?  

I co-lead Frescoes Literary and Art Magazine (writing, designing, organizing, and publishing), write and design the online newspaper, donate crochet pieces for Yarnworks, swim for the Girls Varsity Swim team, volunteer for the Environmental Club, and participate in Math League. This year I am also going to work as President of the National Honors Society and New Jersey Future Educators Association.    

What activities do you participate in outside of school? 

I’ve studied piano for 12 years now, though I haven’t done much to show for it- it’s a hobby I like to have to myself. I am also a private English tutor, which is the best gig for a bookworm!  

What awards or acknowledgements have you received in school and/or outside of school? 

My freshman year I won an SAT writing competition for a small poem I had written, which really spurred my involvement in the school’s English department. I received two awards each for leadership in the magazine and newspaper, and this year I earned the Wellesley College Book Award, and a poem I wrote was included in the Mercer County Community College’s literary magazine.  

I also earned “Most Improved Swimmer” after this past season (which was my first time swimming ever!). That award means a lot to me, since I took a leap of faith joining the varsity team.  

What accomplishments are you most proud of?   

I am most proud of my involvement in the magazine and newspaper. Writing has always been important to me, and I’ve kept a record of poetry in my notebooks since freshman year. Seeing how much I have put myself out there and built my writer’s voice warms my heart just to think about. I am working on a novel, slowly but surely, which has been the biggest test of my dedication to the subject.   

What is your favorite memory of high school to date?  

In proper nerd style, my favorite memory is the AP Human Geography Christmas party hosted by my friend Emily. We joked around about the accuracy of geography in “Frozen” while snacking on Christmas treats and Sprite Cranberry. Thanks, Emily!  

Who is your favorite teacher or coach and why?  

Both Ms. Masterson and Madame Hill are my favorite teachers, largely because I’ve been their student since my freshman year. Ms. Masterson has encouraged my love for literature since I took journalism, and just recently taking AP Language I learned more than I ever expected. She encourages me to pursue writing authentically, and is always willing to help me with outside essay projects and scholarships. I couldn’t ask for a better mentor.  

I owe my love of French to Madame Hill, who has been my teacher these past three years. She works to make sure my peers and I get the most out of her class, and advocates for more and more opportunities for us as we continue to take her courses. Because of her dedication, French isn’t just a foreign language requirement, but one of the best skills I’ll take with me out of high school.  

Who or what has impacted your life in a positive way? 

As of last spring I have been a member of the Ellsworth Meditation Center, which is centered in Maine where I have family but has been available online due to the pandemic. With this group I have studied texts written by Tibetan teachers, and I have learned so much about how to be more compassionate, generous, patient, and disciplined. I am so grateful to everyone in those Tuesday discussions, and to my aunts who have taught me what they know.  

How do you define success? 

Success to me is measured by how much I’ve learned. Not in terms of grades or test scores, but how an experience shifts the way I think. With learning as the goal I work towards, anything can be transformed into a successful experience - I was successful when I didn’t do well on a Chem assignment because I learned how to prioritize my workload; I was successful when I lost the 100 Fly by twelve grueling seconds because I learned I could at least finish the distance.

What are your plans after you graduate from Ewing High School?

I’m planning to study English Literature at a liberal arts college somewhere up north, hopefully to one day work as a teacher or professor. I’d also like to continue studying French in college and spend some time abroad.  

What is your favorite quote or book? 

My favorite quote comes from my favorite book, The Waves by Virginia Woolf: “I am not one and simple, but complex and many.” 

Now the important question: during this time of social distancing what have you been doing in your free time?    

I try to keep myself busy with reading, writing, and school work I have for my AP classes. I’ve gotten into running and cycling this summer, and now with school online I imagine I’ll be running more than ever. Other times, I like to indulge in the idleness of social distancing- I go sit outside to watch the birds or play animal crossing and I let the day feel long. More than anything I miss getting to see my friends every day.