Sarah Bachner has worn many hats at Summerbridge Pittsburghover the years … student, alumna, Middle School director, and now executive director. Let’s see what she has to say about her long history with SB.
What are some things that have changed at Summerbridge over the years and throughout your various roles? What has stayed the same?
Students come and go. Teachers come and go. What stays core to Summerbridge is the spirit. I can’t think of another community that has such a shared commitment to being life-long learners.
What is most rewarding about your current role as executive director of a program that you hold so close your heart?
Nothing is more rewarding than hearing from a student (or teacher) who is realizing their potential. Seeing their hard work pay off in insurmountable ways is so moving to watch! I’m just happy that we’re a stop on their path to success!
You recently attended the People of Color Conference (POCC) in Philadelphia. What are some things that you learned that you want to bring to the SB program?
It’s really easy to fall into defining diversity as only white and black. POCC helped me strengthen my understanding that everyone has a story to tell, and that story is always more complex than the white or black surface. Diversity is a collection and celebration of all these stories that help shape our collective experience and understanding of our world. I will always encourage my students to share their stories, keep an open mind, and respect others’ stories and truths.
What are some new things in store for the 19th summer of Summerbridge?
We’re introducing a new writing curriculum! Strong writing skills will absolutely benefit our students. This new and exciting writing program will replace foreign language as a core academic subject. But don’t fret, linguaphiles; we’ll still offer foreign languages as academic electives!
On a personal note, Miss Sarah, as SB students call you, what are three things you just can’t live without?
Music! My mom was an opera singer in her younger days, and I love to sing and listen to just about any type of music!
Good books. I have to admit though, I’m a sucker for the vampire novels.
Friends and family. There’s a proverb that says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for the numerous people who helped, and continue to help, shape my journey.