Adagio from BRCC to the Ballet

Mon Jul 18, 2022 at 10:44 AM

Maya Pope

As a student at Harrisonburg High School, Maya Pope worked tirelessly to ensure her future was on the right path. Along with her high school studies, she decided to enroll in Blue Ridge Community College courses offered by HHS in order to get a head start earning college credits.

“I started taking BRCC classes the summer before my junior year of high school. Then, during my junior year, I took some BRCC classes that were taught by HHS faculty and had a few regular BRCC classes,” said Maya. “During the summer I took additional BRCC classes, and then during my senior year, I took all BRCC classes.”

Another interesting thing about Maya: she’s a dancer. She has been participating in ballet since she was three years old and soon will be a trainee at American Repertory Ballet. As a trainee, she will be working towards becoming a professional dancer. Along with rehearsing for performances six days a week, Maya will also be taking classes.

“Since my career path is a bit unconventional, I thought that it would be helpful to have a college degree under my belt,” said Maya. “My favorite aspect of studying at BRCC is the variety of different class structures they provide. I was able to take so many classes online which was really helpful for my schedule.”

Maya credits her strong organizational skills to being able to successfully maintain her high school and college studies, along with her dancing career. The best advice she would give high school students thinking of enrolling in BRCC courses would be to not be afraid to use the resources available to them, as well as take advantage of the summer courses. She describes how willing her teachers were to help with any questions that came up, and the opportunity to study during the summer really lightened up her schedule.

Maya’s English professor, Tracey Barr, describes her as one of her strongest students. “During the pandemic, Maya was the only student in my online class who always turned on her camera, and as a result, she helped me feel as if I were still addressing real students,” said Tracey. “I often used her facial expressions and reactions to gauge how well the lesson was going. I really appreciated her willingness to fully engage.”

Although Maya will not be attending college directly after completing high school, she will have already attained her A.A.S “I will not be able to dance forever,” said Maya. “So, when I start my second career, I will already have a college degree. I know that my future self will definitely be grateful that I did all of this while I was still in high school.”

During her last year of the trainee program at American Repertory Ballet, Maya will be auditioning for ballet companies, in pursuance of an apprenticeship or second company position within a company.