BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Senior Eve Marinelli graduated with the rest of the Bridgewater-Raritan High School Class of 2014 – but she has never attended a class at the school.
Marinelli went a different route, taking her classes online for all four years because she is a pre-professional ballerina, and spends her days studying in New York City.
Marinelli has been doing “option 2” with the school district, doing her work online, and has still completed all the credits and courses required to graduate on time from BRHS – and she is the first student to do this. Plus, while practicing every day in the city, she has maintained a 3.83 GPA, and received a full four-year tuition scholarship to attend Kean University in the fall (she was also accepted to The College of New Jersey, New Jersey Institute of Technology and Drexel University).
Marinelli started dancing at age 2, taking classes at local studio, Gotta Dance.
“When I was 12, I started dancing in New York at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School with American Ballet Theatre,” she said. “I then moved to the Gelsey Kirkland Academy, which is an all-day program, the reason why I had to start online schooling.”
Marinelli is currently training with SLK Ballet, a pre-professional ballet school.
“I love ballet with a passion, there really isn’t anything like it,” she said. “Being on stage and performing after putting so much effort into trying to perfect a piece is so worthwhile.”
Over the years, Marinelli has performed at the Metropolitan Opera House, in American Ballet Theatre’s “Mozartiana” and “Le Corsaire.”
“I also was photographed in a group picture with Michelle Obama when she visited for the Opening Gala for the MET that year,” she said.
With her training and her schoolwork, Marinelli said, the years have been difficult, but worth it, particularly over the past few years.
“My junior and senior year, I have been accompanying my mother to her job in the morning,” she said. “While I am there, I do some school work, then take the train to the city. I usually get home around 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and then sign back on to my classes.”
Marinelli said the school and counselor Terry McDonald have been very supportive.
“I’ve had all of my courses approved through the high school just in case I ever decided to go back to normal classes,” she said.
Marinelli said she knows she may have missed out on having a normal teenage life, but she doesn’t regret her choices.
“I have been lucky enough to be given opportunities to train at multiple schools in New York City, and have had BRHS help me with school,” she said. “Not many people do what I do, I sometimes even forget that.”
“I have been commuting to the city by myself since I was 14 and chasing my dreams,” she added. “I am really grateful.”
As for her future, Marinelli said Kean University was the first college she visited, and she will be studying graphic design.
“I actually had no idea what I wanted to study until I went to the open house,” she said. “I met with Rose Gonella, who is the director of the Robert Busch School of Design at Kean, and was truly inspired by her.”
“And the campus is close to the city, so I can continue to dance,” she added.
Marinelli is excited for her future.
“I’m looking forward to a bright future of possibilities,” she said. “I’m excited to see what college and ballet have in store for me.”