Seychelle Mikofsky is one of Park's early bloomers. As an 8th grader, she was named by the Buffalo News as a 2011–12 first-team, all-conference basketball player in the Independent Athletic Conference.
Seychelle is also on a fast track in academics. This past year she took a 10th-grade level geometry course, holding her own in a room full of Upper School students.
“Math is probably my favorite class,” said Seychelle, who lives with her parents and two younger brothers in Snyder. “I really enjoy being challenged and taking this higher-level math course.”
Since coming to Park as a third grader in 2006, she has hit the ground running.
“The first thing I think I noticed was that teaching was presented very differently at Park,” she said. “We didn’t sit and read out of a textbook. It’s a lot of hands-on education.
“The school that I came from had 40 kids in each class. There wasn’t very much student to teacher interaction. There wasn’t learning at a personal level.”
Seychelle’s experience at Park on almost every level demonstrates the advantages many students enjoy in a more intimate, more personal learning environment. As early as sixth grade, she was accelerated to seventh grade math along with a few other students. After Seychelle successfully completed eighth grade math the following year, Math Department Head Tammy Giancola suggested that the “fit” between Seychelle’s abilities and the math curriculum could be improved by moving her into 10th grade honors geometry. She’s maintained an A average in the class.
As a fifth grader, Seychelle expressed interest in ecological initiatives at Park. Working with science teacher Glen Herman, Seychelle helped maintain the large garden Herman established on the west side of Stone Hall. Over the summer, she watered plants ranging from giant Sunzilla sunflowers and corn to strawberries, basil, tomatoes, and beans. She kept a log of the garden as well, noting evidence of deer snacking, insect invasion, and recording plant growth.
Park’s Pre-K to Grade 12 format has proved to be a distinct advantage to Seychelle in the athletic arena as well.
Seychelle loves getting the chance to play her favorite sport–basketball–wearing a Park uniform. She began last season practicing with the girls varsity team while playing for the modified team. About a quarter of the way into the season, she was brought up to play varsity.
“It was a whole different world than the basketball I had been playing before. I was challenged every day in practice. All of my teammates were really receptive to having an 8th grader on the team. We’re all friends. I think it was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I really enjoyed the challenge and I think it put me at a higher level when I was playing.”
Seychelle recently had the chance to visit with WNBA player Maya Moore, whom she met at a Minnesota Lynx game in Minneapolis. Moore, who was a star for the University of Connecticut, is Seychelle’s third cousin. Seychelle described meeting her famous cousin as inspirational.
Seychelle also took on the challenge of playing for the modified girls lacrosse team, which just completed its first season.
Away from the sports field, she’s an active member of Park’s Green Team, an environmental club, and is president of the Middle School Student Government.
“I’m the only middle school representative on the Green Team. So it’s great to be able to keep the middle schoolers informed.”
Seychelle’s voice bubbles with enthusiasm, whether she’s describing a great day on the basketball court, or just the joy of going to school.
“I always say that I love school, but that’s only really happened since I came to Park,” she said. “At the school I went to before, it was like ‘Mom, I really don’t want to go to school today.’ But now, every morning I wake up and I can’t wait to go. I love being here.”