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Jaclyn Scerbak'15 Headed to The Ailey School/Fordham University

Beginning this fall, she will live next door to Lincoln Center, train at the world-renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater studios, and be educated at a well-respected Jesuit university. This competitive program only takes thirty-five dancers from more than six hundred students who audition. It is a conservatory-style program within a liberal arts college, which means the dance training and classroom time are both very intense and time consuming. Jaclyn will major in dance with an academic minor.

“Conservatories prepare students to work as professional performers,” Jaclyn explained. “Because the Ailey School is partnered with Fordham, they really focus on the whole person. They want their dancers to be both committed artists and scholars. That is what drew my attention to this school from the very beginning.”

Jaclyn has wanted to pursue dance in college since she was three years old. Although it has been her passion since she took that very first ballet class, she knew that dancing in college could be very difficult. Jaclyn said she has always strived to be an excellent student, and didn’t want to give that up to pursue her dance career. With support from her family and friends, she decided to give her dreams a chance. This program always ranked at the top of her list, but was unfortunately also the most competitive. “Leave it up to me to fall in love with a school that has less than a nine percent acceptance rate for its dance program,” Jaclyn said.

The Ailey audition was the first of five college auditions for Jaclyn. Although she said her legs could not stop shaking with nerves, she promised herself to give everything she had that day.“To dance in front of the directors of The Ailey School for just one audition was a privilege in itself,” she said. “I was not going to let this incredible opportunity pass me by. In my heart, I knew that that was the only place that I wanted to be for the next four years.”

When Jaclyn received the acceptance email, she couldn’t believe what she was reading. After realizing the acceptance was definitely not a mistake or joke, she felt that all of her hard work in both school and dance had finally paid off. “The nights where I stayed up until 2 a.m. doing homework because I had a three-hour dance rehearsal that night as well, actually proved to be worth it,” she shared. “It is an overwhelming feeling when someone gives you the chance to follow your dreams. I am so grateful that Ailey and Fordham recognized my potential and decided to give me this amazing opportunity.”

Jaclyn said that IHA did a wonderful job preparing her for the college application/admissions process and she is especially grateful for her guidance counselor, Ms. Geraldine Boland. Although Jaclyn was nervous she would be looked down upon for wanting to pursue the arts in college, Ms. Boland encouraged her to pursue her dreams. “Now that I’m here, two years from when I began this whole college process, I can honestly say that I couldn’t be happier,” Jaclyn said. “I am so appreciative of the people who helped me along the way and got me to where I am. I look forward to a new, exciting, and challenging road ahead.”