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The Dance Counselor

News Story

Jaeda Blackman ’22 is an incoming first-year Psychology student who made her mark on the PLV Campus before classes even started. Thanks to a dance routine she choreographed herself, she grabbed the attention of College Board—and all of us here at Pace!

It all started when Jaeda Blackman ’22 spotted an ad for College Board’s “Pledge Your Collegiance” competition, which promised a $5,000 scholarship to the best college reveal post of any incoming first-year student. “I wanted to do something a little different to represent my transition from Hewlett High School to Pace,” she said. And College Board took notice.

Shortly after Blackman posted her now Insta-famous video, College Board tweeted: “Even if your ‘I’m going to #college’ dance isn’t quite on this level, you can still pledge your #Collegiance and be entered to win $$$.” She was named a finalist and even took home a cash prize for her hard work.

The routine was actually a family affair—literally. Her mom, two aunts, and close family friends all got involved when she needed backup. “We all love to dance. It’s in our blood,” Blackman explained. She’s been assisting her mom who teaches dance at a local fitness center for a while now, and she even runs a class herself. “When I turn 18, I plan to get certified to teach dance. I am sometimes booked to perform at events, and I teach dance to elementary students every Thursday.”

Pace’s School of Education would seem like the perfect fit, then, considering her background. Blackman admitted that, “My passion for helping people first led me to wanting to become a teacher,” but after careful consideration of all her skills (of which there are many), she decided on a slightly different career path: school guidance counselor. “I believe counseling fits me better because as a school counselor, I can connect with students on a deeper and more effective level. Therefore, I want to begin studying the foundations of human behavior.”

That doesn’t mean Blackman plans to give up dance altogether. With an extensive background in ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, and African dance, she’s had her sights set on joining all the dance-related clubs Pace has to offer. Not only that, she plans to start her own team, too! “[It’s] inspired by my Caribbean culture,” Blackman told us. “The class would be called ‘Afro Soca’ dance, and based on all the feedback I received from current Pace students on my ‘Pledge Your Collegiance’ video, I think everyone would enjoy it!” She’s been dancing in the Labor Day Carnival Parade (also known as the West Indian Day Parade) that lights up Brooklyn every year, and she’s eager to bring that energy to Pace.

It’s obvious that Blackman is one seriously ambitious individual. But just what, exactly, keeps her motivated? “I always remind myself that to get where I want to be, I have to work hard and not give up,” she said, citing her mom in particular as a strong, positive influence. “She’s there every step of the way to keep me on track.”

We’re so excited to see where Blackman’s time at Pace will take her! Join us in welcoming her to the PLV Campus this fall.

Want to share your Pace experience, too? We want to hear from you! Email us to be interviewed for The Pulse.