Photo Credit: The Declaration Staff
Colonia senior awarded dance scholarship to La Roche College
Fourteen years of dancing paid off for Sarah Pereira when she was awarded a scholarship to La Roche College. The Pittsburgh-based school selects ten dancers each year to receive a $64,000 merit scholarship.
The master dance class
Maria Caruso is the director of the dance department at La Roche. She hosted a dance class on February 5 at Woodbridge Middle School open to Woodbridge Township students of many ages. One dedicated dancer out of all that attended had the chance to win a scholarship at the end of the night.
Caruso started off the class with a classical ballet barre. Then, the dancers followed up with a contemporary class. All of the dancers viewed a video on the programs at La Roche as well as a summer intensive program. By the night’s end, a select few dancers were chosen to attend her summer intensive program with a scholarship.
An unexpected surprise
Sarah Pereira received a huge surprise a few days after the dance class. She was called down to the school’s conference room. “It was the middle of the day. My family was sitting there, the mayor was sitting there, and so were my teachers,” she recalls.
Everyone gathered around the table and talked for a while. Caruso asked Sarah about her passion for dance and her future hopes and goals. Sarah has been dancing since she was only 3 years old. Of all the different genres, ballet is her favorite. “I know that dance can relieve me of all the worries and stress from everything around me,” Pereira explained. “I like to dance because it is the one thing that I know I am good at.”
Outside of school, she is on the competition team at Dancin’ in the Spotlight. Each week Pereira spends a great deal of her time inside the studio or on stage learning new choreography.
Her talent was obvious to Caruso. “I would love to have you at La Roche,” Caruso began. “And I am going to give you $64,000 for your college education.”
After hearing those words, a huge smile spread across Pereira’s face. When reflecting on that moment, she remembers “I stood there with my mouth open. I didn’t even know what to say.”
Plans for the future
Pereira is “excited to go to college. I never expected that I would get in a few years ago.”
Her 15 years of dancing will continue on for many years to come. Starting in September this year she will be attending La Roche College of Dance. After graduation, she plans on teaching dance to special education students.