Student Features

Ballerina dances toward early graduation

May 5, 2014

It will be hard for Katherine Rotz to resist dancing across the stage when she receives her Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School diploma at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on June 14.

Katie, age 16, is graduating early because she can't wait to make the next saute toward her dream of becoming a professional ballerina.

Although she is from Pittsburgh, the Kimmel Center is a second home to Katie. The Pennsylvania Ballet is a resident company at the Kimmel Center, and she is a ballerina studying with The School of Pennsylvania Ballet.

After graduation she will spend five summer weeks in Massachusetts, training with the Boston Ballet School Summer Dance Program. She auditioned for the program and received a full residential scholarship.

Next year, while former classmates in her age cohort are high school seniors, Katie will be a full-time student at The School of Pennsylvania Ballet.

"You can tell she is driven. She is extremely hard-working and driven. Once she gets into something she gets it done," said Roman Kozak, her PA Cyber instructional supervisor.

He said Katie has been a straight-A student during her three years with PA Cyber, taking all self-paced classes to free more time for training and performance.

Katie is from Bethel Park, a suburb in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. Her mother and father are Mary and Drew Rotz. They have an older daughter, Elizabeth, currently a student at Duquesne University.

Her mother said Katie fell in love with dance at age 2 when she watched Elizabeth practicing at a local dance studio.

Katie spent 10 years with the Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, studying under Artistic Director Jean Gedeon and performing in "George Balanchine's Serenade," "Waltz of the Hours," "Raymonda Variations," "Jerome Robert's Circus Polka" and many other productions.

In 2009, she danced with the New York City Ballet in "George Balanchine's Coppelia"at the Saratoga Springs Performing Arts Center. In 2010, 2011 and 2012, Katie trained at the School of American Ballet's prestigious summer program.

She successfully auditioned and was accepted on scholarship into The School of Pennsylvania Ballet. She started training there in January 2013. Over the past year, Katie has performed with the Pennsylvania Ballet in productions including "George Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Christopher Wheeldon's Carnival of the Animals," and "George Balanchine's The Nutcracker."

Her mother's family is from Philadelphia; Katie has been staying with an aunt there, her schooling through PA Cyber uninterrupted during periods of training, practice and performance.

"We love PA Cyber. It has given Katie such flexibility," said her mother.

Katherine Rotz (Photo by Christina Kenny)

About PA Cyber

Serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (PA Cyber) is one of the largest, most experienced, and most successful online public schools in the nation. PA Cyber's online learning environments, personalized instructional methods, and choices of curricula connect Pennsylvania students and their families with state-certified and highly-qualified teachers, and rich academic content that is aligned to state standards. Founded in 2000, PA Cyber is headquartered in Midland (Beaver County) and maintains a network of support offices throughout the state. As a public school, PA Cyber is open for enrollment by any school-age child residing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and does not charge tuition to students or families.