Gulliver Prep junior Morgan Furnari has earned more than 500 hours of community service, most of them earned through dance. She is a member of the Gulliver dance team, the Sundancers, and although she’s only a junior, she is co-captain of the squad.
“They usually give the position to senior members, but we only have one senior this year,” Furnari says. “We have an unusually small team this year, but it’s a very nice team and I really like it.”
Furnari choreographs dances for the team and helps the other girls improve their dancing technique. She is known as a disciplinarian.
“I clean a lot of dances and I’m in charge of discipline,” she says. “I tell anyone who is talking too much to run laps on the field.”
The Sundancers perform dance routines at school and they also go to local, regional and national dance competitions. “Last year we were the state champions,” Furnari says.
“Last year was such a good year for us and this year everyone is passionate. Our team is flourishing and we have routines for jazz, contemporary, hip hop and Latin.”
Furnari is also in the Gulliver Dance Club. Club members visit such places as the Palace in Kendall, an adult living facility for the elderly, and perform for the seniors.
Outside of school, Furnari dances at Artistic Soul Studios where she dances in competitions and recitals.
“We try to keep it down to two competitions,” she says. “We perform at a lot of conventions. We go to classes in big ballrooms. I’m attending five different ones on my own this year.”
Furnari says she goes to the conventions to make connections with people in Los Angeles and New York who may help her in the future when she becomes a professional dancer.
While most kids would stress with so much to do, Furnari says she loves it all.
“I do love balancing it all, it’s like a puzzle that I like to do on my own,” she says.
Furnari’s plan is to continue to dance when she goes to college, and to become a professional dancer after college.
“Some place like NYU or UCLA would be best for me,” she says. “I’ve been dancing since I was three and I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ve never taken a break.”
When she’s not dancing, Furnari is very involved with school activities. She has been class secretary since she was a freshman and she is a member of the National Honor Society (NHS).
“We have different fundraisers and projects like Touching Miami with Love,” she says. “We visit kids in Overtown to work as tutors and help them with their schoolwork.”
Furnari says through NHS she participates in community events such as fundraising walks for the Autism Society and the Susan G. Komen Breast Foundation.
“It shows how Gulliver is able and wants to help,” she says. “We also have several canned food drives.”
Furnari also is a member of GPAC, which enforces the Gulliver Honor Code.
“We promote integrity so people don’t cheat on tests,” she says. “No plagiarism allowed. And we talk to those students about why they cheated and help them get through it. We help them balance out their time.”
By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld