Farewell Mr. Ball!

Ellen Zhan


Mr. Ball… IS LEAVING! 

(it’s ok he said he liked how dramatic that hook is)

7th-grade BASE Camp leader, Capstone project advisor, Queer-Intersectional Alliance advisor, 9th-grade Health teacher, Study Skills & Technology teacher, vocal director for the school musical, and director of all four PCS choirs; Mr. Kyle Ball has played all of these roles in the span of what was at once his first and final year at PCS.

Mr. Ball taught high school choirs in Bakersfield, California for five years before coming to PCS. He had just earned his Master’s degree in teaching, and fancied a move to the Bay Area, when the PCS choir teaching position opened up. Replacing founding PCS choral teacher Ms. Alice Hughes, Mr. Ball had some big shoes to fill. “Mr. Ball has brought so much joy and laughter into the classroom and halls every day. I’m so grateful to have had him as a teacher,” said 9th-grade choir student Leia Lindsay.

Mr. Ball, in addition to the various job titles he has at PCS, is also the 2022 Breakfast Master and Late Night Snack Award-winner, according to the results of two events organized by and for PCS staffulty. PCS is very special, Mr. Ball says, as “the camaraderie between all the staff is not something that is common anywhere else I’ve [taught].” At his previous job in a traditional public high school with some two-thousand students, “I only really knew the teachers that were in the buildings right across the way from me because all of VAPA [visual and performing arts] was in one building… I didn’t go and talk to other teachers all the time, as I do here as much… [and] I feel like I am closer to more staff outside of my department here than at any other place I’ve worked at.” 

When asked for his favorite memory at PCS, Mr. Ball cited one of the rehearsals for this year’s musical, The Addams Family. It was the first time the cast got to hear Leia, who was one of the two alternating lead actresses, sing. “Casting a freshman in a [lead] role makes people question your judgement a lot of the time. But in that moment, when she started singing and I was able to look around [at] everybody in the room, I saw everybody’s face go, ‘Ohhh we get it now.’” PCS theatre teacher Mr. Hunter Wallraff shared that his favorite memories with Mr. Ball were also from the musical and “watching him teach music, which he is a master at.”

Mr. Wallraff further describes him as someone who is, “incredible, warm, caring, who goes above and beyond for his students and his friends.” Sophomore choir student Aubrey Fessenden agrees, “he’s very patient, and he obviously cares about his students very much.”

A testament to how much he truly cares, Mr. Ball has commuted from his home in Saratoga to PCS every school day, and students can most often find him on campus by 7:30 in the morning either preparing for classes or chatting with his students and/or colleagues. A large factor in his decision to leave PCS was the cost of living and commuting to Santa Cruz, and also that his long-term boyfriend is pursuing programs in his physical therapy career, of which there are none within a distance reasonable enough to avoid moving. “We’re currently looking at San Diego or Chicago,” said Mr. Ball, and, “[I’m] applying mostly for arts administration jobs at the collegiate level.” In terms of his greatest dreams, Mr. Ball hopes to see the world, “just be a bum and travel.”

I’d like to conclude by sharing part of the speech given by senior and choir student Rosemary A. Kanko at Mr. Ball’s final concert at PCS on May 16th, 2023:

I’d like to say thank you to Mr Ball for everything he has done for us. Even though he has only been with us for a year, he has brought so much light and love into the choir room. From unfocused minds when brain break approaches, the weird sounds we make when we warm up, dealing with the pit orchestra, and the alto section (if you know you know), he always finds a way to keep us on track and sounding beautiful. Even though Mr Ball is leaving next year, I’m sure I’m not the only one who can say he will be dearly missed. I’ll always cherish the laughs we had, the memories we made, and our 5th period conversations. You have been one of my favorite teachers of my lifetime and I hope wherever you go you find happiness and prosperity.

Farewell, Mr. Ball, and from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.