Rachel CrossWe are pleased to honor Rachel Cross in our Spring Peabody Alumni Spotlight. Rachel graduated from Peabody School in 2013 and her brother, Connor, is currently in the eighth grade at Peabody. Rachel is very excited to be attending Williams College in the fall as she says “in some ways, it is similar to Peabody, with small interactive classes where the professors get to know the students and are dedicated to helping them learn.”

Rachel is also excited to have the opportunity to compete on the Williams College tennis team.  She has been an avid and successful tennis player for most of her life. “When I entered the sixth grade, I decided to make tennis one of my top priorities in order to become very competitive. I loved participating in sports with my classmates, so as I could, I joined in on cross country meets and soccer games. After Peabody, it became too difficult to balance sports in addition to tennis and school. In my junior year, I transferred to a tennis academy in Maryland, where I do my school work online and train five hours each day. Most weekends I compete in tournaments, but on those I don’t, I come back home to Charlottesville. The Peabody foundation and work ethic carried into high school and I am graduating #1 out of 212 students in my online school and in the top 100 U.S. tennis players.

When asked how Peabody prepared her for high school, Rachel noted that the high school credits that she earned at Peabody gave her a definite leg up when she entered high school.  “Peabody gave me the confidence to tackle difficult problems. It also taught me how manage a busy workload. I developed relationships with students in grades surrounding mine, which helped me to learn from those who were older and teach those that were younger. This paid off, and my transition to high school was an easy one. Since I entered high school with credits in Spanish, Math and Science, I was placed with upperclassmen but didn’t have trouble keeping up with them.”

During her time at Peabody, Rachel made many lasting memories, but her favorite was the Chesapeake Bay Trip.  She says that “the time traveling together brought me closer to my teachers and classmates and we were able to learn a lot about the bay and conservation, which was really interesting.  We also had time for other fun activities too, like a scavenger hunt on a nearby island and ghost stories around a bonfire at night”.

Her former Peabody teachers remember her fondly.  Mr. Miller taught Rachel’s middle school science class and remembers her as a hard worker in all aspects.  He says, “She was a dedicated student and always worked hard to make sure she truly understood whatever concept we were studying. Her work ethic and attention to detail were top notch and, considering Rachel devoted a lot of time outside of school to tennis, I was always impressed with the quality of her work.  On top of all that, she was always cheerful and friendly – a pleasure to teach.

Mr. Merrick also had glowing memories of Rachel.  “Rachel was a diligent student, taking great care and putting in ample time and effort into her work. Despite a demanding tennis schedule (numerous hours of weekly training sessions, and tournaments during the school year), she was always able to complete her tasks at school. Rachel was a kind and thoughtful young lady, gracious and open. Lots of smiles and willingness from the young lady.  I had the pleasure of watching Rachel compete in a local tennis tournament. I saw her simultaneous tenacity and kindness firsthand; she politely destroyed her opponent in straight sets!”

Rachel’s advice to the current eighth grade class is “that if you put in the hard work during 8th grade, then when you enter high school it is a fairly easy transition.”

Congratulations on all that you have accomplished and your success in and out of the classroom, Rachel!  We are eager to watch you continue to succeed in all that you do!