Taking the Leap: Valentina’s Journey to Academic Fulfillment

For our latest Rainbow interview, we sit down with a young woman by the name of Valentina Povolo. Valentina was bold enough to take the unconventional route of leaving a College prep High School for a Performance Arts High School. It can be difficult to make such a life changing decision about your future on your own – from dealing with new classmates and teachers to a completely new curriculum style. Read about Valentina’s experience and let it serve as inspiration for those of you considering taking a similar leap.


RT: What was your biggest fear going into the High School transfer process, and what helped you to overcome it?

VP: My biggest fear going into the High School transfer process was that I was scared I wouldn’t be able to adjust to a new environment, make friends, and get used to my new classes. I was afraid that it would be very hard to adapt to.

RT: What did you do to prepare for your high school transfer?

VP: I didn’t do anything particularly different to prepare; I just met with some of the new students coming in as well, and got all of my materials before school started.

RT: What kind of help did you get, including from your counselors/parents/rainbow/etc. What was the most helpful advice/guidance that you got and why?

VP: I got a lot of help from my parents and Cindy since I was switching environments, and a lot of my classes were now IB classes which weren’t offered at my previous school. The most helpful piece of advice that I got was to be myself and try my best in my new performing arts film classes.

RT: If you were to give advice to someone who also wants to go to the school you were accepted to, what would you tell them?

VP: In my experience, I switched from a traditional private High School to a new Performing Arts High School in Downtown L.A. named Relativity High School. It was very different because I would be taking most of my High School courses through an online school, and then take five college level film classes in different areas during my school days. My focus at school was now on my Performing Arts instead of on my academics. Therefore, to any high schooler who is thinking of switching schools, particularly to a Performing Arts High School, my advice would be to make sure the new classes you are taking are classes that you genuinely enjoy, be yourself, and be open minded to all the new changes and people you will encounter.

RT: How has working with Rainbow transformed you?

VP: Working with Rainbow has transformed me immensely. Cindy has helped me discover my passions and how to take classes and extracurricular activities that help me become more involved in those passions. Rainbow has been very supportive in my studies and helping me prepare for the college process.

RT: What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome while applying, and how did you overcome it?

VP: The biggest obstacle was having to start over in meeting new friends and teachers. It was an entirely new environment for me of people that hadn’t known me for two years, like at my previous school. I overcame it by being open minded to all the new changes, and that way was able to embrace the change instead of become intimidated by it.

RT: Tell us about a specific experience or opportunity that really stood out for you and make your new HS experience memorable.

VP: One of the most memorable experiences that has come from being in this new environment is when I got to show a piece of my work at Carnegie Hall in January. I was invited along with one of the other high school students to partake in activities and prepare for a concert in January. So, we flew out together to New York for an entire week where we met kids from London, Shanghai, New York, and Seoul. As everyone was preparing their musical pieces, dances, songs, and talents, I went along and filmed everyone and created a short documentary of the experience. On the day of, hundreds of people got to see my film as the opening. It was an amazing experience because I met some incredibly talented people that I am still in contact with today, got to be in New York during the school year, and film the city!

RT: What is the strangest thing that has happened?

VP: The strangest thing that happens at school is when they are filming on location. Since I go to school on a studio lot at Los Angeles Center Studios, there are always projects being shot around us. While it is very cool, it makes our life way harder because we must take a whole different path and two elevators to get to our classrooms. But, on the positive side, I did see Rachel McAdams and the Scandal cast a few times…

RT: What is a typical day like? Give a glimpse into your life….

VP: Every day is different. It is pretty atypical, actually. On Mondays I arrive to school at 9 am and have the entire day to do my online high school work. Tuesdays I arrive at 9 am for my Producing class until 11:30 am, have lunch until 12:30, and then am off to my American Cinema class until 4. Then, I am able to go home and continue working on my high school classes online. On Wednesdays, I arrive to school at 10:30 am where I have AP English Language with a studio teacher until 11:30 am. Then, after lunch, I have American Cinema once again at 12:30 pm until 3 pm, where I am given a 30 minute break and am onto my Screenwriting the Feature Film class from 3:30 to 6 pm. Thursdays, I arrive to school at 10 am for AP English Language with my studio teacher until lunch at 11:30. Then, from 12:30 to 2 I have AP English testing, which is where we complete different practice tests for the AP Exam. After that I have Dance from 2 to 3 pm, and from 3 to 6 pm I am off to my Cinematography class. When I get home I continue to work on my other high school courses. Lastly, Fridays. I arrive to school at 9 am for Dance until 11 am. Then I get a short break and have AP English Language with my studio teacher to finish or complete other sections of the AP English test from the day before we have not finished. Fridays are also very flexible, because it is usually when all classes are rescheduled to if they didn’t happen during the week, guest speakers to come, or for shooting. These past couple weeks have been time given to guest speakers, and so I am not exactly sure what time I leave; it depends on the day.

RT: When you think of this experience, what stands out for you the most specifically?

VP: When I think of this experience, what stands out for me is the amount of film work I have been exposed to in just one year. I have written and directed three short films, have been exposed to so many new films, and really gone in depth into what being a filmmaker entails. It has been a tremendous growing experience for me, one that I probably would have never taken a chance on without the support of Cindy, Paving [the Way to College program], my parents, and my friends. Don’t be afraid to take risks, and follow your dreams!!

RT: Now that you’re done with the process, any surprises or unusual insights?

VP: Now that I have been at my new school for almost a year, I am surprised how well I have been able to adapt to the new system so quickly. I am glad that I was able to follow my passions and find somewhere with classes that I have a strong interest in, and be surrounded by people with similar passions as well. I have grown very much this year as a person, and matured into a more independent young woman by being in a better environment for me.


Keeping an open mind and relying on the advice of family and tutors seems to have served Valentina well. Obstacles will come anytime such a drastic change is made, but following your life’s passions will never be a move you regret! Can you relate? Share an experience with us of when you had to take the road less traveled to academic achievement in the comments section or on our Facebook page.