Jacob wrote out his story for a panel discussion in spring 2017:
Growing up, I went to a private school in Princeton. It wasn’t a bad school. There were things that could have been better, but I was able to live through my 10 years there quite easily.
However, that school didn’t have a high school, so when I was nearing the end of 8th grade I had to start looking for a new place to finish out the four years I still had left. At first I tried finding a high school based on that school’s philosophy. Since my experience there had been fairly good, I figured I would just continue with that.
But there are no high schools like that in New Jersey and I didn’t want to move. Also the tuition would have been even more expensive. So I realized that a high school based on the educational philosophy I was used to wouldn’t work out for me.
I tried out some other schools in the New Jersey area but I wasn’t finding anything that suited me. Then one day my mom mentioned to me this place named PLC. She told me that there aren’t grades and that I get Wednesdays off. When I heard that I was like, “No grades and you get Wednesdays off? Sign me up.”
But when I finally came to PLC, I realized that it was so much more than that. It may be hard for some people to see, but how you manage your time and how you use it really does make a difference. When I was at my previous school, although I wasn’t unhappy, I wasn’t able to use my time the way I really wanted to. By the beginning of 7th grade I was starting to really get into music and I’d taken up playing the drums. But the school required you to play a stringed orchestral instrument. So I had to practice drums as well as having to fit in playing cello, which wasn’t something I was passionate about doing.
When I came to PLC, I started learning the instruments I wanted to. I continued to improve my drum skills and added learning how to play bass and guitar. And since I didn’t have to worry about grades or have loads of homework, I was able to focus my time solely on those instruments. And to show you how far that can go, I’ve now been playing drums for close to four years, guitar for about a year and half, and bass for close to two years. And I can play each instrument fluently. I’m currently in two bands, one which has played many shows all over New Jersey, some of which we got paid for. I write my own original music and I’ve won Battle of the Bands twice. While at my previous school, the only thing I could fit in was practicing drums.
But I didn’t want to spend all my time on music. I also wanted to fill my schedule with “normal” classes that I thought would help me. So I decided to take classes such as geometry, astronomy, creative writing, music theory, world and American history, Italian, and many others.
Without PLC, I don’t believe I would have gotten to the point I’m at now. They’ve helped push and guide me to the goals that I’ve strived for, and helped me overcome things I was afraid of and bring talents out of me I didn’t know I had. Without PLC, I really don’t know where I would be today.
Right now I’m considering pursuing music full-time after PLC and doing some community college on the side. I’m also still open to applying directly to a 4-year school with a strong music program.