NEW YORK, NY – Windows of Opportunity has announced Lydia Mangan, a 14 year old freshman at Foss High School in Tacoma, Washington as the recipient of the 2011 Petaloudes ~ The Olympia Manolis Feldman Scholarship. This award is given annually to a high school student who has lost one or both of their parents or guardians or are burdened with the prospect of such a loss.

Please read her heart-warming submission below:

I began dancing at five years old. Since the age of 9 I have been asked to assist teachers in warm-ups and classes and now I am asked to teach classes on a substitute schedule. When I was 9 and 12, my mother took me to auditions in Seattle just to attend master classes. Every dance company audition that I have participated in has invited me to join their pre-professional summer intensive programs. Those companies were Milwaukee Ballet, Joffery of NY, Portland Ballet in Oregon, and The Rock School in PA. At those times, my mother felt that I was too young to travel alone. This year I auditioned for Long Beach of CA; Austin Ballet in TX; Milwaukee Ballet in WI; The Rock School; and ABT of NY.

These master classes are wonderful and I really enjoy them and get priceless corrections and feed-back from the directors. I have been invited to attend all of these Summer Intensive Programs. Long Beach Ballet of California not only has invited me to their Summer 3 week intensive program but has also selected me to represent them in China on a tour where only 30 dancers from around the country are invited. What an honor! I was sent my official e-letter of acceptance on Jan 22, ’11.

Due to the costs of these programs, I have never been able to attend an intensive. The total cost of Long Beach Ballet’s intensive is $4,985 for the 3 weeks in Long Beach and 3 weeks in China, which includes round trip airfare to China. I am hoping to get a sponsorship to help with the costs. My remaining balance is $4,685. My family is unable to pay the full amount of the intensive because of some hardships we’ve been through. My dad was laid off in February of 2009 and unable to find work in his field putting the family on unemployment. His health began to deteriorate, losing strength in his left hand and leg. In February of 2010 he was diagnosed with ALS [also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease]. My mom had to quit school and is unable to work because she has to take care of my dad almost 24/7. Now he is unable to walk, dress, or bathe. I also have two younger siblings at home. Our income comes from Social Security Disability and a VA Disability. 50% of the payment is due April 1st, and the remaining amount is due June 1st.

Please consider sponsoring me so that I can attend this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Sincerely, Lydia

Lydia… from all of us at Windows Of Opportunity, we offer you our full support and wish you success in all your endeavors. We are here for you always to reach out to should you need us.

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About the Scholarship

Petaloudes, the Olympia Manolis Feldman Scholarship is given annually to a high school senior who has lost one or both of their parents or guardians, or are burdened with the prospect of such a loss. This scholarship provides some of the necessary resources needed to live a fulfilled life despite their unfortunate circumstances.

Established in 2008, the Petaloudes Scholarship was created to fulfill on a promise made to friend and supporter of W.O.O., Olympia Manolis Feldman. This strong and courageous woman’s life ended at the early age of 41 after a long battle with Leukemia. She left behind a 10 year old son and her only concern before passing away on February 16, 2008 was that he would be able to move forward and still go after his dreams.

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To Apply for the 2012 Petaloudes Scholarship, click here.