February RSA Staff Spotlight

February RSA Staff Spotlight
Posted on 02/07/2023
February RSA Staff Spotlight

How long have you been involved with RSA? 

My kids Jack and Gretta, and I, have been involved with the Renaissance community in various capacities since my dad, Mr. Michael Pekarske, became the director of Renaissance School for The Arts in 2003.

My dad included my children and me in an array of Renaissance events and performances throughout the twelve years he was the director of Renaissance.

I officially began teaching at Renaissance in 2010 when I co-taught an up-cycled fashion class in collaboration with Goodwill Industries.

A few years later, I was elated to be hired as an ELA and Humanities teacher for Renaissance in 2014. Sadly, I was only able to teach one quarter of that school year because I sustained a second brain injury in a two and a half year span and resigned from teaching to focus on my recovery.

A year following my devastating resignation from teaching ELA and Humanities at Renaissance, I returned to my Yoga practice and found great healing in my Yoga practice not only in body, but cognitively, emotionally, and spiritually. I began taking trauma-based Yoga classes and workshops focused on children, teens, and adults. Eventually I pursued my 200 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher Training, and became a Certified Yoga Teacher and I continue to take Yoga courses and workshops today.

I began teaching Yoga/Qi Gong/Meditation at Renaissance during the 2018-2019 school year. In 2022 I added teaching Writing/Literature classes to my schedule at Renaissance and I am ABSOLUTELY LOVING teaching these courses in addition to my treasured Yoga/Qi Gong Meditation courses.

How do you incorporate Art in your life outside of Renaissance? 

I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English, as well as teaching certifications in ELA, ELL, and a Social Studies certification to teach at charter schools. Obviously, I am incredibly drawn to languages and cultures and I weave my writings, and explorations of literature, cultures, and mindful practices into every ELA or Yoga/Qi Gong/Meditation class I teach at Renaissance, as well as with my teen athletes, and adult Yogis.

Everything I teach centers around my principle question, "How does this class lead a student to live a better life?" I BELIEVE LIVING LIFE WELL IS AN ART FORM!!!

I view the art of creating personal and teaching experiences, while building safe, compassionate, intelligent, communities, to be my life's work that is indivisible from all I pursue. "A Life Well Lived is the Most Exquisite Work of Art"!!!

What are some of your hobbies outside of Art?

Well, I did basically just say that everything in life is an art form - LOL... However, in addition to personally practicing and taking coursework for Yoga, Qi Gong, and Meditation, I love being in nature whenever possible, hiking, running, biking, cooking with my husband, enjoying diverse and savory foods, spending time with family, friends, my precious dog Hazel, my sassy cat Snowball, and being involved with Appleton West Cross Country and Track. I LOVE CONTINUALLY LEARNING and MEETING PEOPLE!!!!

Do you have a favorite RSA memory?

In all honesty, I feel like I make a new kind of favorite memory in EVERY Renaissance class I teach - seriously!!!

If YOU were a Renaissance student today – which class would you be most excited to take and why?

I would take all the classes in which I felt the least skillful, or most intimidated to take. With each decade of living I prove to myself time and time again that my deepest and most significant growth occurs outside of my comfort zone!

Do you have any advice for current Renaissance students?

LOVE YOURSELF EVEN MORE Each and Every Day And The Rest Will Come... I see you, and you are truly a phenomenal human being and a divine inspiration!

Polly Trip Yogi

Polly and Hazel