By Vivian Nguyen ’21 and Manaasi Narayan ’21
This column for the 2017-18 school year is dedicated to the freshmen, by the freshmen. Just who are the freshmen, you ask? Are they the new students still trying to find their way to their next class? Are they the clueless people who constantly pester you about the confusing schedule? No! Instead, the freshmen are a group of strong, talented girls who have many gifts to share with our IH community. In this column, we hope to highlight many of these individuals and talk about our stories and experiences as we develop from cubs to full grown Pandas.
This week’s freshman feature is Helena Pavlovcic, a fourteen-year-old Panda in the Class of 2021. Pavlovcic is especially talented in rhythmic gymnastics, a type of dance and ballet form which incorporates equipment like balls, hoops, ribbons, clubs, and much more. The Bamboo sat down with the gymnast for a personal look into the world’s next star!
“I can express my emotions,” revealed Pavlovcic, on why the pastime is so important to her. Dancing is a “very feminine and beautiful” expression of art – one of the reasons why she adores the sport. Rhythmic gymnastics incorporates the symbol of a woman’s strength and of her prowess, she explained.
A two-time national champion, and one of the top five chosen for the Olympic games, Pavlovcic’s daily regime pays off with great rewards. She’s been performing “since first grade” and practices almost “every day of the week.” Because rhythmic gymnastics implements a variety of dance mediums, she takes additional types of class like ballet to improve her overall skill. Competitive dancing is a more obscure sport, Pavlovcic noted. “If I work hard and create new records, I can make the sport more well known,” explained the ambitious athlete, her face radiant with dreams. “I want to make history… I love it.”
Most recently, Pavlovcic experienced an international assignment with Team USA in Budapest. She called the trip “the most memorable experience!” and she added, “I really bonded with my USA teammates. It was also my first experience in Europe.” On why the assignment was so special, she eagerly explained, “I met a lot of icons!” These icons include professional gymnast Aleksandra Soldatova, and LA Times cover gymnast Margarita Mamun. Among the most prestigious stars she met was two-time Olympic champion Evgenia Kanaeva.
Although Pavlovcic admires the gymnastic leaders that came before her, her determination in her spirit reveals she is bound to become a leader in rhythmic gymnastics herself. The Bamboo wanted to tap into Helena’s personal life as well – because a Panda is a Panda, no matter where she is. In her free time, she shared that she “loves to watch baking shows.” On her future dreams, Pavlovcic stated that she “wants to become an athletic doctor, or a gymnastics coach.”
Here’s food-for-thought from this determined student, “If you ever want to be successful at something, it’s going to take a lot of work and dedication,” she said. Her own personal journey that brought her to the Immaculate Heart campus is also inspiring. Her family, she pointed out, is very religious, and her parents encouraged her to learn more about religion by getting a Catholic education at Immaculate Heart. “And IH is very good and all girls,” she added.
The name Helena, which derives from Greek roots, means “bright” and “shining.” This new Panda absolutely shines, as a rising star! The Bamboo cannot wait to see what Helena Pavlovcic will do next – and we welcome her into the Immaculate Heart family.