Louis Earns $27k Scholarship to Manhattanville

MOUNT VERNON – Amaiya Louis, a twelfth-grade dance major at Denzel Washington School of the Arts, has displayed academic expertise, creativity and commitment to service on her way to earning a $27,000 per year scholarship to Manhattanville College. She will attend Manhattanville’s Bachelor of Fine Arts Commercial Dance degree program in the fall.

Amaiya was also accepted into 11 other schools, receiving at least $16,000 per year in scholarships from each.

She has taken Advanced Placement (AP) courses throughout her entire four years at DWSA. She is currently taking AP environmental science, AP government and politics, AP literature and composition and AP calculus. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and has a 4.0 GPA.

Amaiya has danced at several studios throughout her life, including the Dance Theater of Harlem, Harlem School of the Arts, Mind-Builders Creative Art Center and Rooftop Rhythms Dance Studio. She also is the captain and choreographer of the Hip Hop Club at DWSA.

“I lead everyone for the shows, I teach them the dances, and we always have fun,” said Amaiya. “I love everyone in the Hip Hop Club. I also teach with my current studio, Mind-Builders, and we do a lot of community service.”

She has danced at back-to-school events, Black History Month shows, and city events with her dance studio and the Hip Hop Club. At Mind-Builders, she teaches dancers ages two to 17.

One of the community service events Amaiya danced at was an honorary ceremony for Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard in November 2023. She also has completed community service for the Girl Scouts, which she has been a member of since she was seven. She is now a Girl Scout Senior and has fundraised, sold cookies and held sleepovers with the less fortunate.

Amaiya is now a backup dancer for an artist named Lady Slim, and they performed at Mount Vernon City Fest. She credits her mother and grandmother, who were dancers, for starting her on her dance journey. They were her first teachers and helped her realize that dancing is her passion. They also motivated her to continue following her dream of dancing.

“I also want to give a huge shoutout to Ms. Monica Celeste-Johnson, she’s the middle school dance teacher here,” said Amaiya. “She helped me through so much inside and outside of school, and I would not be where I am without her. Also, Ms. Susan Ayson was my dance teacher at Rooftop Rhythms, and she helped me get into this school. I love them both so much.”

Amaiya wants to start a dance studio in Mount Vernon when she graduates to highlight the talent in the community and help people find their passion and express themselves.

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