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Story and photos by Lindsay Luberecki, junior, Pine View School.  

The ornate and expansive main hall of the Sarasota Opera House glowed green, illuminated by lights on the floor and a large screen.  Green block letters stood upstage, spelling “PINC.”  Various three-dimensional decorations were suspended or placed around the stage, including a large paper airplane hanging from the ceiling and a geometric heart, the logo of Sarasota benefit corporation DreamLarge.

The event taking place on Thursday, December 7, was the PINC Experience, an initiative presented by DreamLarge.  PINC is an experience-based day-long conference that features speakers from a plethora of compelling and unusual backgrounds as well as other surprises along the way.  The conference had taken a three-year hiatus from an in-person event during the pandemic, so the excitement was high as the day began.

After breakfast in the Opera House courtyard, the buzzing audience began to take their seats.  A hush fell over the crowd as they watched a dramatic video demonstrating the pillars of PINC (People, Ideas, Nature, and Community).  Anand Pallegar, the founder of DreamLarge, welcomed the crowd to the event and then introduced the speakers.

The Program:  Speakers and Students

Twelve speakers presented at PINC throughout the day, and each had a vastly different story to share.

Sir Robert Swan described his treks to the North and South Poles, complete with harrowing pictures and compelling storytelling, as he advocated for awareness about climate change and our planet.  He was followed by Angelina Tsuboi, the youngest speaker ever to stand on the PINC stage.  A 17-year-old programmer, Tsuboi began learning computer-programming languages at the age of seven.  Today, the myriad of projects she takes on, including work with NASA and about cybersecurity, are driven by questioning how she can improve the world.  This core idea of questioning was with her from the very beginning.

Angelina Tsuboi

“If I would’ve given up my constant questioning in exchange for not getting in trouble, I don’t think I would be the same person I was today,” she said on stage.  “Making choices that reflected my hopes for the future rather than my fears really does pay off.”

Being 17, Tsuboi may have connected with nine specific audience members at PINC.  The Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation sponsored the attendance of nine Sarasota County high school students, along with a teacher of their choice.  These “Barancik Foundation PINC Scholars” are also active with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and Desoto Counties and other youth-serving organizations supported by the Foundation.

A full agenda of riveting speakers followed Tsuboi. While each speaker shared an incredibly unique story, common themes were woven throughout the day. These included the importance of treating our children with the respect they deserve – see Ash Perrin, Zion Clark, and Robert Scheer – as well as caring for our environment and emphasizing education, to name a few. To read more about all of the day’s inspiring speakers, visit

Hearing from the PINC Scholars

In addition to the 12 featured presentations, during the program the PINC Scholars were called up on stage and given their very own opportunity to speak with Pallegar and the audience about their experience that day.

Each of the students was given the chance to introduce themselves and answer a question posed by Pallegar.  North Port High School senior Bianca D. reflected on what she was looking forward to: “listening and hearing all these amazing minds…so many perspectives I had yet to consider.”

Sydney L., a Riverview High senior, was asked to share something new she had learned so far at PINC.  “Definitely about how many children out there are suffering,” she said. “You never really see it until you get put in front of these screens…and you see someone doing something good but on the other side there’s suffering and pain and violence.  I think we need more people out there who do what Ash [Perrin] does.”

Riverview senior Sierra M. was asked what she was most excited about experiencing after being chosen as a PINC Scholar.  She explained that, as someone who can struggle with seeing the bigger picture, an experience like PINC “contributes to such an environment where your mind is open.”

Gabriel C., senior at Suncoast Polytechnical High School, shared that his favorite thing about the day so far was the mind-opening power of PINC.  “[PINC is] all things community…all these stories combined,” he said.  “It’s very interesting and I’m very excited to hear about the rest of their stories.”

Reflections on the Day and Saying Thanks

While on stage, every PINC Scholar also acknowledged the teacher they chose to attend with, giving them heartfelt shoutouts—which in many cases led to a round of applause.

The students also reflected on their experience after the fact, sharing their feelings with and thanking the Barancik Foundation.  Many of them expressed similar ideas about changed perspectives after PINC, as well as about the importance of community and education—lessons they said they learned throughout the day.  In her note afterward, Bianca D. wrote, “Having the ability to give back to one of my teachers was one of my favorite things about the PINC Experience.  It is teachers like Mr. Barnes who make education interesting and exciting—being able to present him with this experience was absolutely wonderful.”

In an email, Eric Barnes and a fellow North Port High School teacher shared their thoughts about PINC.  “I went to the experience with no idea what to expect,” Barnes wrote.  “It was beyond what I could have anticipated… The speakers were incredible and had such powerful messages that resonated through the audience.  They had such variety in their stories and messages that it was impossible not to relate to them. Thank you so much for the opportunity to attend and I hope to attend again in the future!”

His colleague Chrystal Hunt shared a similar idea, saying she was “truly humbled at the reminder that there is a bigger world out there” and that she was “so happy to have been able to attend.”

All in all, the Barancik Foundation PINC Scholars program provided a unique opportunity for students to experience a beloved, exciting, and educational Sarasota event.  The PINC Experience brought together stories from all corners of the world—including the two poles—and highlighted experiences that can unite our communities.  Speakers shared countless personal anecdotes, lessons they had learned, desires for the future, and calls to action—many lessons and calls that resonated with the young PINC Scholars.

Student journalist Lindsay Luberecki, news editor of the Pine View Torch student newspaper, was invited by DreamLarge to cover the 2023 PINC Experience from a student perspective.

About Barancik Foundation

The Charles and Margery Barancik family has long believed in the power of philanthropy to shape our world and enrich the lives of all people. It was the expression of this belief that led them in 2014 to establish Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation—a private, family foundation located in Sarasota, Florida.

1515 Ringling Boulevard, Suite 500, Sarasota FL 34236
The Barancik Foundation does not accept unsolicited requests for funding.

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