CCA's flexible scheduling allows honors student to pursue dance

​Elizabeth Henry works at dance studio and plans to study clinical psychology.

Elizabeth Henry started dancing even before she was old enough for kindergarten. Thanks to her flexible schedule at Commonwealth Charter Academy, the high school junior can continue taking classes at night, work as a student-teacher for daytime dance classes and tackle honors and Advanced Placement courses.

“CCA gives me the ability to work at the dance school during the day and do my schoolwork when I come home,” said Elizabeth, a York County resident. “If I were in a [traditional] school, I would not be able to do that.”

Elizabeth, 15, started with ballet and tap classes at age 4. Over the years, she has added pointe, hip-hop, jazz and — her current favorites — lyrical and contemporary dance to her repertoire. She performs with Dance Expressions of York at Linda B’s School of Dance. While she has trained and danced with the company for years, this is only her second year of competition.

Each Monday, Elizabeth and dance instructors teach a steady stream of toddlers and home-schooled students ages 3-13, working in all different dance styles. Elizabeth demonstrates moves and helps wherever needed, especially with the younger children.

“I most enjoy the 3- to 5-year-olds because the little ones are really excited to be there,” she said.

It’s also a learning experience for Elizabeth, who aspires to a career in clinical psychology focusing on group or individual therapy. 

“It’s pretty interesting to see how the young ones take things in and process them,” she said. “It also gives a good foundation in leadership and learning.”

When she’s not teaching and learning in the dance studio, Elizabeth is hitting the books for the AP and honors courses she’s taking at CCA. Her brother, Timothy, also attends CCA.​

“AP alone takes a couple of hours every day, and CCA gives me the flexibility to work around being in the dance studio and still take the time I need to complete my lessons right,” she said.

Elizabeth plans to continue dancing and helping out at the school as she pursues her studies.

“I really enjoy dancing, and it’s great exercise,” she said. “I enjoy working with the children and am really glad I am able to do this.”


High School Learner