Nineteen members of the Southwood Superstars Dance Team for 2013-14 who recently won a top national award were honored by Palmetto Bay’s mayor and council at their Mar. 3 meeting.
During the American Dance Association competition in January, Southwood’s team was awarded the highest distinction for their jazz technique, choreography and musical theater production at the state level.
Mayor Shelley Stanczyk went on to explain that it didn’t end there.
“On Feb. 1 and 2 in the national Universal Dance Association competition, the dancers qualified for semi-finals in the jazz and hiphop divisions and moved into the final round,” Stanczyk said. “At finals, the Southwood Superstar Dance Team was named the National Champions in the Junior High division. We are so proud that these young women are just perfect examples of what our children can be in our public schools today.”
The student members of the dance team honored were Jessleen Acosta, Sabrina Almeida, Jazmine Arocha, Sarah Blackburn, Alexa Casanueva, Rayleen Cunnil, Samantha Cortes, Olivia Cosio, Trinity DeMarcado, Angelina Fernandez, Daniela Fernandez, Priscilla Hardie, Reese Jackson, Brittney Lida, Madelyn Llopis, Lauren Obrador, Kimika Popowski, Maliyah Sorel and Alicia Velez-Newcomb.
“We all know how Southwood is just the best middle school there is, but I think that this group of young ladies have really proven it,” Stanczyk said at the presentation. “Once again, they have become national champs in their dance team competition. I personally am excited about that because back when the dance team started, their first year out, my daughters were lucky enough to have had Ms. Hilda Jimenez as their instructor at that time and to be part of this wonderful group. The program at Southwood Middle School is such an excellent program and we are so lucky in the Village of Palmetto Bay to have schools where our children excel.”
Hilda Jimenez, Magnet Dance director and coach, was there for the presentation, as was Southwood principal Magda R. Pereira.
Jimenez had praise for her students.
“As usual the hard work paid off,” Jimenez said later. “I was very happy and excited for them, especially those who are in the eighth grade as they’ll be able to leave with that great achievement. The fact that they won represented Southwood at the highest level and put us on the map.”
Jimenez also was pleased that the members of the dance team were recognized by the mayor and council.
“It was a great honor and a memory the girls are going to take with them forever,” Jimenez said. “Palmetto Bay is such a great community and it’s nice when they feature the students in the community. They’re never going to forget they were honored by the mayor for their fantastic achievements. The relationship between the schools and the community really does work and it makes a huge difference.”
At the end of the presentation Mayor Stanczyk asked the girl’s parents to join them for a group photo, acknowledging the important role they also played in the dance team’s achievement.