Mary Elizabeth Stickney has a smile that lights up a room.
“When you love something, it doesn’t feel like work,” Stickney said, beaming.
That single mantra sums up how Stickney is able to juggle such a rigorous schedule. She spends five days a week at the nationally renowned The GOLD School, in Brockton, where she is both a teaching assistant and a dancer in their elite Project Moves performance group. She has school commitments, including being president of the National Honor Society and a volunteer at Homework Haven. She is a decorated violinist and plays in the Orchestra. She is a member of the a cappella choir. Stickney also finds time to serve as both a summer confirmation retreat leader and occasional Sunday musical performer at
“It can be tiring, the commute and being sure my school work gets done," she said. "And I hope I’m not letting my friends down when I miss social events but I think they know how much dancing means to me.”
Having moved to Milford from North Carolina in third grade, Stickney spent most of middle school finding her element and trying out all the available clubs and events. Her love of dance blossomed and her decision to follow her older brother to the more intensive dance training at The GOLD School was an easy decision.
Her involvement with Project Moves, which is more of a performance group rather than competition has met her every expectation.
“We work on pieces of art and try and inspire through dance and impact the audience with a message," Stickney said. "We hope the message our work sends to others is that they are not alone and they can find strength and trust in others.”
One Human Race premiered in Boston this past March with upcoming performances in August. The piece is about acceptance and tolerance. [Note: a YouTube video is attached about the Project Moves group.]
Stickney has been recognized for several awards including the George Eastman Young Leaders Award that she was given as a junior during the senior award night last year. The award recognizes a student leader who can affect change.
“That a teacher would think highly enough of me to nominate me for such an award was amazing," she said. "I will miss those relationships with everyone who helped me and for all the opportunities that Milford offered to me. I feel very lucky to have them.”
Jennifer Letourneau, adviser for the National Honor Society, said one of Stickney's greatest gifts is her ability to include those around her.
"She wasn't threatened by the strengths of others," Letourneau said. "She was a president that didn't hesitate to let others share the lead and responsibility of running major events like the Senior Citizens Prom, as she did with another student in NHS, Michaella Niro."
Stickney will be attending Drexel University in Philadelphia in the fall. She will major in dance and plans to continue with an extended curriculum into their Doctor of Physical Therapy program. She wants to work with athletes and injured dancers and is looking forward to taking part in their outpatient dance classes for the wheelchair bound.