BRIGHT FUTURES — Lincoln’s Danaria Bland dances through success in and out of class

Published 12:36 am Wednesday, February 9, 2022

When Lincoln Middle School 8th grader Danaria Bland starts high school in the fall, she’ll be entering Advance Placement classes.

But how the 14-year-old finds the time to stay at the top of the academic ladder is baffling, considering her extracurricular schedule.

“I like to dance,” she said. “It’s fun and you can express yourself while dancing.”

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But she doesn’t just take a dance class or two. Having started at Company D in Nederland when she was 4 years old, she’s now in seven dance classes.

And that’s just out of school.

Danaria Bland will start high school this fall in honors classes. (Monique Batson/The News)

“Danaria is currently the Captain of the Drill Team, and she carries these leadership skills over to my classroom setting,” said Drill Team instructor Carnikka Thomas-Provost. “I was initially impressed with her enthusiasm in class as a dancer. She is a model student and would be an asset to any organization that she aspires to be a part of.”

Danaria proved as much recently when she went to Solo and Ensemble with the school choir and brought back top scores. Especially considering she never thought she’d be singing.

“We had to take choir in elementary,” she said. “At first I didn’t really like singing, but after I took choir in elementary, I got to liking it. So when I got to middle school, I picked it as one of my electives.”
She’s now in the top choir.

But none of that has swayed her focus from her classes, all in which she maintains high grades.

“I strive to,” she said. “But I’m also required to.”

Danaria lives with her mom, a physician, and her sister, who is a 6th grader at the same school. And through spending time with her family, she found her future career.

“I want to go to college to be a real estate agent,” she said. “I like different houses. At first I wanted to be an interior designer because I like designing. I like watching HGTV. I watch with my mom and got interested.”

But, for now, she’s focused on the path to college.

“Danaria never fails to show persistence whenever faced with a difficult task in class,” said Cynthia Quejado, head of the science department.

“In one of the projects we were working on, she has shown initiative in leading the group she was assigned with. With continuous optimism and determination, Danaria will no doubt be successful in whatever endeavor she chooses to achieve.”

Lincoln Middle School is located on Abe Lincoln Avenue in Port Arthur. (Monique Batson/The News)