Students from Nassau BOCES Long Island High School for the Arts are inducted into the National Honor Society for Dance Arts (NHSDA) are from left: Jared Stern, Levittown UFSD; Aliyah Petrone, Massapequa UFSD; Madison McGrath, Massapequa UFSD; Tara Durkin, Massapequa UFSD; Jason Fauser, Northport-East Northport UFSD; Alexandria Ferrugia, Massapequa UFSD; Rose Ozimkowski, Northport-East Northport UFSD and Sydney Weltman, Bellmore-Merrick CHSD.
Another milestone was celebrated at Nassau BOCES Long Island High School for the Arts (LIHSA) when its first cohort of students was inducted into the National Honor Society for Dance Arts (NHSDA) in February. The eight students from throughout Long Island were recognized not only for their skill on the dance floor but also for their academic achievements and leadership.
The inductees were Tara Durkin (Massapequa UFSD), Jason Fauser (Northport-East Northport UFSD), Alexandra Ferrugia (Massapequa UFSD), Madison McGrath (Massapequa UFSD), Rose Ozimkowski (Northport-East Northport UFSD), Aliyah Petrone (Massapequa UFSD), Jared Stern (Levittown UFSD) and Sydney Weltman (Bellmore-Merrick CHSD).
“These are high-achieving students with evolving artistry and a genuine interest in so many areas of the arts,” said LIHSA’s lead dance teacher Dina Denis-Paolucci, who spearheaded the efforts to achieve this national recognition for her students. “I’m really proud of all of you,” she told the students. “This is a huge accomplishment for our program.”
The students were directly involved in the development of the LIHSA chapter of the NHSDA and helped plan their own induction ceremony. They also elected chapter officers – President Jared Stern, Vice President Sydney Weltman, Treasurer Rose Ozimkowski, Secretary Jason Fauser and Head of Fundraising Madison McGrath.
“These dancers prove every time they are in class or when they are on stage how talented and technically advanced they are and spend hours as well at outside studios training, performing and perfecting their craft,” Jared said of his fellow inductees. “We as dancers must have much more than just technical excellence and pretty lines. We use our art form to voice our opinions and share our visions with the world.”
Mrs. Denis-Paolucci took a few minutes to recognize the individual accomplishments of the students, which ranged from a variety of awards to prestigious performances. Rose recently won the opportunity to perform her original choreography at the Stage the Change Conference.
“Something so little as dancing on a stage could spark a fire in someone and cause a chain reaction to begin,” Rose said. “And that is exactly what leadership is. Guidance, direction, motivation and influence are all actions that leaders take to invoke inspiration to others. These are all actions that each inductee has taken and will continue to take for as long as they live because of the opportunities that LIHSA has given us.”
Sydney spoke about the academic component of the LIHSA dance program. All of the honorees excelled in both their Anatomy and Kinesiology courses and their Dance History courses for which they received college credit from LIU Post. “At LIHSA, we focus on being a ‘smart’ dancer,” she said. “Instead of just doing movements we are taught, we dive into them with an in-depth lens by watching and researching. This expands our dance knowledge beyond anything a studio can teach us.”
A second induction ceremony will be held in the spring for rising seniors.