Students Protest Planned End of Dance Program at Hialeah Gardens School – NBC 6 South Florida

They came with signs and brought their parents. Current and former students of Hialeah Gardens High School shouted their messages in the morning traffic.

They said they didn’t want the dance program to go anywhere.

“Dancing is what we live for, it’s what we care about,” said junior Kelma Escalona. “And that’s what drives me in the morning to come here to school to keep up my grades.”

Dance coach Adriana Rizzo started the program alone 14 years ago.

It’s my passion…I don’t teach for the money,” she told NBC 6 last week. “I don’t think a teacher really teaches for the money. We teach because we love what we do and we want to share that passion and love with our students.

Rizzo did not attend Tuesday’s event, but her students said the protest was for her.

“We are not just here to save this program. We’re here to save Rizzo and the things she’s done for us,” college student Shanell Lopez said.

School district leaders said the award-winning program was being cut due to low enrollment. But Rizzo said she had 137 students enrolled this year and most wanted to return to the course next year.

“It’s not just about dancing. You learn to be organized, to prepare, to come out of your shell…set a goal, achieve it,” she said. “You know, a lot of these kids are taking my class for the first time. , and maybe they weren’t so comfortable dancing or like, even being in uniform, or being on stage and they all came out of their shells, they bonded d friendship in my class.

Senior Isis Inarga said she was inspired by the program to leave northern Spain just to attend the class.

“It was like the best decision of my life. Like coming here has shown and taught me a lot in just two years,” she said.

Students and graduates said they would continue to fight for the program no matter what.

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