Private All Girls School

Preschool-High School

Princeton, New Jersey

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Student Spotlight: Tara Billa '24

I am Stuart Proud. I am an athlete, a musician and a helpful friend.

What are your favorite classes or activities at Stuart?

My favorite classes and activities at Stuart are history, gym and sports. I've also always liked sports because I'm a very competitive person. I do field hockey and track, and this year I played basketball just to try something new. 

What do you enjoy about sports? 

I enjoy sports a lot because of the team aspect. I like playing with many people. I think with basketball, field hockey and track, it's nice having my friends around me to enjoy the game together.

In addition to being an athlete, you are also an accomplished musician. Please talk about the recent opportunity to play at Carnegie Hall. 

I've been playing piano for around seven years. In general, I've been learning music since I was four. When we lived in London, I participated in a program that starts you with a string instrument at six, so I learned violin since it sounded fun. I also played bassoon, and when I started taking piano a year later, playing three instruments was too much. That's when I discontinued the violin. The Carnegie Hall opportunity led to the piano being more of a prominent instrument in my life. I've never done any competitions, and my piano teacher suggested that I try. There were about a hundred of us competing to play. The chance to play at Carnegie Hall was awarded to the grand prize as well as first and second place finishers.  When my mom called to tell me I finished second, I was absolutely astounded because I just never thought that would happen. I did a really hard piece, in my opinion, because it was really long and a really famous piece. I was slightly scared of the results and then when she told me I placed second, I was really happy. A month or so later, I played at Carnegie Hall and it was amazing. I was really nervous, but it was really fun to play there.

Your sisters Kavya (grade 4) and Nalini (EC 4) are at school with you. What do you enjoy about that?

I really like having my sisters close to me because I can see them during the day. It's also easier to do things in school with them, like when I was Mystery Reader in the EC. My other sister in fourth grade also has Big Sisters with the EC, so she's able to see my sister more often. The one disadvantage is the time after school. Since there is a big age gap between me and my youngest sister, it’s hard for her to stay after school, especially if I have games. There are definitely more advantages. The last two years in public school, I never really saw them because I had to wake up early for school. It wasn't my favorite thing to not see them for that long.

Let’s talk about the Sacred Heart Goals. Is there one Goal that has resonated with you the most?

Goal 5 has resonated with me because I'm a person who would go out of my way to help someone - even if it's a small thing. However, there have been times when I go too far and sacrifice my own time for someone else. That's why Goal 5 resonates with me, because it's “a personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom.” It's being aware of other people, and that has stuck with me for a while. 

What are you most excited about with the Upper School?

I'm excited for more intense sports, especially because I know that Mrs. Bruvik is the field hockey coach. I'm also excited for high school in general because I have a lot of friends who are one or two years older, and they always tell me how you get so many more opportunities. I want to experience that. I know the stress and everything will come, but I'm not too worried about that. I really want to make sure that I fulfill all of what the Upper School gives me.



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