Name: Jillian Szcesuil
From: Bolton, MA
School: Nashoba Regional High School
my life, I have constantly been involved in my local community,
volunteering at soup kitchens, church events, local fairs, senior
centers, and at my dance school. Volunteering at these organizations
at such a young age, gave me a solid foundation of understanding how
important volunteer work is and how much work goes into keeping the
organizations running. Hearing people’s stories on how they got
involved in the organization always intrigued me. During my junior
year, I was given the opportunity to be a member of the National
Honor Society. It motivated me to keep going with my volunteer work
and find new opportunities to volunteer. With a minimum of 20
community service hours required annually, I greatly exceeded that
due to my volunteer work with my dance school.
2016, I have been volunteering at my dance school for 3 to 6 hours
per week during the school year. I have been helping my dance teacher
lead the class in efforts to develop the younger dancers’ skills.
Every week, during the dance season, I assist my teacher with leading
the class and teaching new dances. While volunteering, I have been
fortunate enough to develop strong relationships with all the younger
kids I am teaching. I have learned how to encourage the small dancers
by playing to their strengths first, and customizing my approach to
fit individual needs. It helped me understand the difference in
teaching a 4-year-old versus a 14-year-old. The rigor of the material
differs, but it can be equally challenging to the person learning the
dance. I make it a priority to encourage them as much as possible
when they are learning new dances that can become frustrating to
them. If they are having a difficult time learning a dance and sit
down and cry, I pick them up and tell them they will learn the new
dance – it just takes practice. I know this because I have been in
that same position. I make sure I give the kids constructive and
gentle criticism to improve their dancing and not discourage them. As
their teacher, I treat the young dancers with the utmost respect as I
would if I were teaching kids my own age.
November 2017, my dance teacher gave me the responsibility of the
opening and closing the studio to lead a group practice. After
volunteering for a year, it was nice to have a new responsibility to
look after the younger kids by myself. They all had a big competition
coming up and they all needed to practice so it was a great
opportunity to help and critique them.
the younger dancers gave me a sense of responsibility to uphold and
keep them under control when they have so much energy they want to
release. Having my dance teacher rely on me to be at the studio once
a week has taught me how to manage my time and honor my commitments.
Volunteering at my dance studio and assisting my dance teacher helped
me become who I am today and will forever positively influence how I
carry myself in the future.