Manhattan College’s performing arts scholarships are awarded to just a few standout students every year. One of these lucky recipients is sophomore Isabel Quinones.
Originally from Beacon, N.Y., Quinones is currently majoring in childhood and special education with a concentration in math. But her interests extend from the classroom to the stage.
Quinones has been in the performing arts realm for “as long as [she] can remember”, notably as a performer during elementary and high school productions. During her time in high school, she appeared in productions such as “In the Heights”, “Footloose”, “Peter Pan” and “Pippin”.
Out of all the productions in which she took part, Quinones believes her role as a principal dancer in “In The Heights” was her favorite, in part due to its connection to her national heritage.
“As someone of Hispanic descent, I got to dance to my traditional music in this production. I also just had fun with my friends and the role I was given at the time,” she said.
Her lifelong involvement in the performing arts led her to apply for the college’s performing arts scholarship. But she had not committed to the school itself just yet.
“I wasn’t sure if Manhattan was right for me until I looked into their performing arts program and met people who were involved. Once I auditioned and saw the possibilities, I knew this was where I wanted to be,” Quinones said.
Once enrolled, Quinones became a student quite involved in her on-campus community, particularly as part of Campus Ministry and Social Action (CMSA). She lectors at the college’s weekly masses and is a member of both Lasallian Collegians and the Day of Service planning committee.
She also holds leadership roles in other campus organizations. She is an admissions office tour guide, an orientation leader for the class of 2021, a residential representative in student government, and the vice president of Fuerza Latina. However, her largest commitment is to the college’s performing arts department.
Among the conditions of the scholarship is being in good standing in at least two of the college’s performing arts ensembles. Quinones’ groups of choice are MC Music Ministry, MC Players and MC Singers.
Within these three groups, Quinones cites Singers, of which she is a member of the executive board, as her favorite.
“In Singers, we get to challenge ourselves with different styles of music such as classical, religious, Broadway show tunes, and even pop songs. I feel that I made the most friends and connections in Singers,” she said.
Quinones serves as the public relations position on the Singers’ executive board, which has revealed to her that the ensemble does a lot more than just singing.
“Being on the board so far this year has already taught me about the many things that go on behind the scenes and I look forward to the upcoming school year,” she said.
Each year, the Singers ensemble travels outside the college to perform at larger venues. Last year’s destination was Walt Disney World in Orlando, which Quinones called “the highlight of [her] freshman year.”
“It was surreal to perform there and take in the magic of Disney World with all my closest friends,” she said. “I created bonds and memories on this trip that I know I’ll cherish for a lifetime.”