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2020 Akada Scholarship Recipients

Posted Friday, August 14th, 2020 by Akada

Alliance Dance Academy Bluffton, SC – We would give this Scholarship to one of our Graduating Seniors, Shawna Zats. Shawna had ACL surgery last season, forcing her to sit out her entire Junior year of dance. She rehabbed for 6 long months and was super excited for her Senior year when Covid 19 hit and once again she wasn’t able to dance! Shawna is an important part of our studio’s fabric and awarding her this Scholarship would be an amazing way to recognize her hard work and dedication. She recently made the Dance team at Furman University and she is praying that she will be dancing again soon. Thank you for this opportunity to shine the spotlight on Shawna and remind her that a wonderful work ethic will always pay off!


American Academy of Dance, Hendersonville, TN  –  We will use 100% of the funds to help low-income students with their dance tuition. The owner of AAD, Paula Fortner, already implements payment plans for families who may be having a difficult time. She has always felt like being a part of the dance studio gives children so much more than merely a dance education. A dance studio gives children a sense of belonging and a safe place to feel accepted and loved outside of the home. Many of our students feel that American Academy of Dance is their home away from home.

Breaking Pointe Dance Company, Franklinton, LA – Our studio is in a rural Louisiana town. Zoom classes didn’t work for us because of a lack of internet service. The scholarship would help finance a family of five girls dancing with us. Even though I trade cleaning services with mom for free tuition. The costumes/ dance attire / etc is impossible. For parades, they borrow my teacher’s jackets etc. This scholarship would be a blessing for these talented humbled dancers. There is a real need.
Thank You

Colorado School of Dance, Parker, CO – Colorado School of Dance awards $2000 in college scholarships each year to outstanding seniors in honor of the “Dalton’s Moon Foundation” (a student at CSD from 2002-2016, who fought cancer until 2016 when his battled ended at age 18). The funds are generally produced from recital ticket profits, and each year we award 2-4 students. This year, with no ticketed recital, we are unsure how to proceed with the funding, and sadly, the seniors will not even have graduation. Dalton’s Mom cleans our studio — so she was also laid off during this time due to the shutdown. It would mean the world to her, and to our studio families, is to still be able to award at least half of the funds this season — CSD would even match the $1,000, and be able to announce this year’s scholarship was sponsored in part by AKADA SOFTWARE. We currently have had 5 seniors apply for the scholarship; plus the funds cannot go to any owners/employee children. We know you have many terrific studios. Thank you for allowing us to be considered, and for doing such amazing work during this season.


Creative Expressions Dance Studio Inc., Flint, MI – Thank you for providing this opportunity to all of us to write for this scholarship. Creative Expressions Dance Studio Inc. (C.E.D.S.) is a non-profit that caters to low-income families. Creative Expressions has been blessed with a Parent who has been participating in our program for the last 3 years. What is so unique about this family is as follows: A Mom with a talented daughter who is a part of the C.E.D.S. Competition Team has been a foster mother for two beautiful children. The two foster children came from a drug and physically abused home. The young boy would not even speak for several months, while the young girl was extremely shy because of being molested. This kindhearted mother while receiving money for foster care was able to put the children in dance classes. But when she decided to adopt the children her stipend for foster care was decreased. The students have made tremendous gains in their self-esteem. The young boy speaks with authority now and is one of our leaders in the Small Tot Class. His sister is now one of the youngest students on our Competition Team. This scholarship will help provide this family with tuition, competition, and costume fees. The help for this family will be greatly appreciated while keeping these two children in the loving care of a mother who needs assistance, especially during this pandemic.

Dance Studio B, Wilson, NC – 2 years ago I saw a post on Social Media that a former dancer’s Mom was asking for prayers for their oldest daughter who was now in a wheelchair! I was in shock and offered to help in any way I could. At that point, there had been no diagnosis but the child had lost the feeling in her legs. Her Mom thought it best to keep her as active as possible, so we started meeting a couple of times a week, with all 4 kids, to stretch and strengthen her legs, until it could be determined what was actually going on. The diagnosis was Pediatric Peripheral Neuropathy. Only a handful of children have ever been diagnosed with this, as it generally only strikes adults. Though there’s no known cure, there are treatments. Since insurance companies don’t recognize this as something a child would need, the $6000 monthly treatments are not covered. The good news is, they seem to be working. They are currently in the process of trying to sell their family home, a beautifully renovated farmhouse, in an effort to cover the cost of treatment. But it’s working, so they feel this is their only choice No longer confined to a wheelchair, this young lady learned to walk with a walker and then finally without. All the while, meeting with me once or twice a week and finally signing up for tumbling class with her younger brother and sister. I awarded them our studio scholarship at last years recital, but now, her younger sister is also showing symptoms. The good news is, after countless appeals and community outreach, insurance will now cover treatments. Unfortunately, their father lost his job, so I fear they will not be able to continue dancing with us next season, without some sort of divine intervention. Your scholarship would allow all three siblings to continue with their class next season. The Duff Family prides themselves as being “Duff Tuff” and they prove this each and every day. It is my hope that their strength and determination can be rewarded.

Northeast Iowa Dance Academy, Oelwein, IA – These funds would be applied towards tuition for a young student (age 6) whose father was in a car accident in May 2020. The family’s life has been changed forever with the father being paralyzed and working through critical injuries sustained in the accident. The father has been transported to a rehabilitation center however, the center is 5 hours from home. The student also has a younger sister at home under the age of one. The accident happened at the height of COVID therefore, the family was also unable to be in the intensive care unit with their husband/father. All updates were provided virtually to the family by the medical staff. The mother has been incredibly strong through the whole process and is now traveling back and forth between home and the rehabilitation center to support both her husband and their two young children. NIDA is grateful for the opportunity to nominate the family for the scholarship. Being awarded the funds for tuition would bring the family positive news that is much needed at a time they are looking for healing and strength.

Performer’s Edge Dance Center, Davenport, FL – We would love to help a student in need that loves to dance but whose parents have had health issues and couldn’t work. Her mom is a nurse and has been working this entire time during covid 19 to support her family. They have had years of struggle and bad luck and their daughter, who is 12, is the sweetest girl with a huge heart and truly loves to dance as much as she can and this could help take the pressure off.

Robin’s Dance Studio, Missouri City, TX – I have a senior who has been with the studio since the age of 2 and is an extremely talented dancer and choreographer. She is humble, kind, and caring and has been an excellent mentor, assistant teacher, and teacher. She will be attending Theater Arts Preparatory School in Las Vegas while also pursuing a business degree from the University of Houston. Her goal is to dance professionally and own her own studio. Her mom danced at our studio with me growing up and she has worked very hard to help Kalyssa achieve her dreams while being a single mom and 5th-grade teacher. I would love to be able to ease some of her financial burdens and help her achieve these goals she so richly deserves. Thank you.

The Dance Connection, Canton, MI – In June of 2012 our studio owner Carol Jackson passed away from cancer. In her honor, we started the Carol Ann Jackson Memorial Scholarship fund. Each year at the recital we select one deserving dancer who receives a $1,000 scholarship to put towards their dance education. They can use it for tuition, costumes, conventions, competitions, or whatever they choose. To raise money to support the scholarship fund we sell flower bouquets at our annual recital. However, this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak we will not be having our traditional recital and will be unable to do flower sales. This scholarship would allow us to award a 2020 Carol Ann Jackson Memorial Scholarship to a deserving dancer within our studio. We thank you for your consideration and look forward to being able to continue the legacy started by Ms. Carol 25 years ago.