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Greenwich Kids See Themselves in 'Race to Nowhere'

Greenwich High junior Rachel Samuel saw “Race to Nowhere” Tuesday night and said the documentary film about driven teens reflects her life. “I would love to slow down, but unless everyone else does it you can’t do it, because at the end of the day it’s a competition,” she said.

The kids in the film strive so hard to get into top colleges it often affects their physical and emotional health. Rachel and two other Greenwich students took time out from hectic schedules to see the film at Central Middle School. “We wanted to come to be told that we weren’t crazy,” said Rachel Stinebaugh, a junior.

“If everyone could just slow down,” Samuel said, “it would be great and I would be able to get more than four hours of sleep a night, which currently I haven’t gotten on a school night in a really long time.”

Samuel says after going to school for seven hours a day, she has two hours of driving school or her after-school job, then dance practice. By the time she gets home at 9 p.m. she has to do homework until nearly 2 a.m. “You get used to it,” she shrugged.

Stinebaugh said one of the themes of the film that hit closest to home for her was how stress can affect one’s health. “I’ve been noticing this year my health is deteriorating, like visibly ill,” she said. “Last fall I had gotten a concussion during field hockey and I still wasn’t sleeping because I still had to do my work. Teachers try to be understanding, but there’s only so much leeway they can give.”

Luckily, Stinebaugh said, her parents are supportive. “My dad always tells me, ‘It’s not how well you do on the test, it’s how much effort you put into it,’ ” she said.

Another junior, Hannah Balikci, said she hadn’t been home since before school that day because of crew practice after school. “My schedule is so crazy and still when I go home and I show my mom I got a B-plus on a test she gets on me to get it up to an A,” she said. “It’s non-stop.”

“You have to make sacrifices to have fun,” said Stinebaugh. “But you know later on you’ll pay for it.”

Samuel agreed, saying, “I skipped dance to come here tonight. But I’ll be up late tonight.”

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How are other students in Fairfield County coping with heavy workloads and stiff competition? Click on the headlines below to find out:

Stress Weighs Heavily on Darien Teens

Are Fairfield's Students Overworked?

Stamford Teens Balance Academics, Athletics

Westport Teens Find Different Stress Solutions

Have you seen “Race to Nowhere”? Does your child show signs of stress and pressure?  Comment below or send your opinion to

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