Corcoran High School student awarded SU dance scholarship in memory of Jenni-Lyn Watson

Margaret Moreno, a senior at Corcoran High School, has attended SU’s Summer Dance Intensive Program for three years. She is so dedicated to her art that at age 15, she cashed in her $1,000 life savings to pay the tuition to attend the program.

This year Moreno, who has been accepted at SUNY Brockport in the fall as a dance major, received a full scholarship from a newly created Jenni-Lyn Watson Memorial Fund established at the Central New York Community Foundation (CNYCF). Jenni-Lyn Watson’s life was tragically cut short last November when she returned home to Clay from college for the Thanksgiving holiday. Watson was a dance major at Mercyhurst College, and a company member of SoMar Dance Works.

The Watson family established the fund to create opportunities for local dance students who have a passion for dance but cannot afford specialized training. “We should all be so lucky to find half the passion for something in our lives like Jenni-Lyn had for dance,” Jenni-Lyn’s mother, Jackie Watson, told the Community Foundation. “We will use this fund to ensure that financial barriers don’t stop other dancers from achieving their dreams.”

“This is my fourth year attending the SU Summer Dance Intensive Program, and I’ve always had to scrounge for money,” says Moreno. “Now more than ever it was crucial that I find the financial support to attend the program in order to prepare for college.”

Moreno has been dancing since she was 11 years old. She says that compared to other dance programs, she has learned and grown the most by far at SU’s. “I feel each year I leave the program with a stronger technique and sense of where I stand as a dancer compared to other dancers around the country, and in some instances, around the world,” says Moreno.

Moreno says that although her initial payment of $1,000 was one of the greatest investments she ever made, she hasn’t been able to recover the money in order to finance this year’s program. “It’s an amazing thing that the Watsons are doing for other young dancers,” she says.

“This is how Jenni-Lyn would have wanted to be remembered—by helping those in our region who have a love for dance, but don’t have the same opportunities she did to attend formal arts schooling,” Jackie Watson says. “This fund will help us carry on her love for people, dance and life.”

Syracuse University’s Dance Intensive Program, administered through University College, prepares aspiring dancers to meet the challenges of today’s dance world. Students take daily technique classes in ballet, modern and jazz in an intense conservatory environment. With its emphasis on technical growth and artistic performance, the training these students receive develops and refines their technique and broadens their understanding of what it means to be a dancer. The program culminates with a free, public performance on Saturday, July 30, at 1 p.m. at Syracuse Stage.

For more information, visit the Summer Dance Intensive web site at