The Firefighter Christopher Santora Educational Scholarship Fund Website

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2013 Guardian Angel Award

Miss Michelle Koutsoubelis

Posted on June 14th, 2013   

Michelle started dancing at Cathy’s Dance Studio at the age of five as a student of Miss Cathy Dooley. She has studied with the legendary Gregory Hines, Charles “Honi” Coles and Savion Glover.

In 1989, Michelle became the Artistic Director of Cathy’s Dance Studio.

Michelle received a B.A. from Fordham University (Rose Hill). In addition to her love of dance, she is an actor and singer who has trained extensively at the world famous Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute and HB Studios. Michelle has performed Off-Broadway and on Television and Film, and choreographs for Cathy Dooley’s Original Florida Follies annual extravaganza. All the proceeds from the shows go to children’s charities. She is humbled to be giving back to her teacher and to children in need. She received the “CHARLES “HONI” COLES Award of Excellence in Dance. Michelle is grateful to have a successful career at what she loves most and strives to make a difference in the lives of every dancer she teaches! Her hope is to inspire them to be the BEST THEY CAN BE!

As a sign of gratitude for Christopher’s life, it is truly an honor to offer Scholarships in Christopher Santora’s memory at Cathy’s Dance Studio.

Cathy’s is a thread that’s woven deeply into the fabric of the Santora clan. Christopher’s mother, Maureen, and all his sisters studied at Cathy’s. When Christopher was little he asked if he could study dancing like his older sisters. Al was distraught. How could the son of a Chief in the FDNY want to become a dancer? To his credit he told Christopher that he could try tap out. For the next several weeks Christopher went to tap school. Every week he asked about getting his tap shoes. Finally about a month after he had started he received his special shoes. He immediately tried them on and when we returned home he told his mother that he no longer needed to go to dancing school again. He ran into the bathroom and with his shoes on made as much noise as he could on the tile floor. He told his parents that this is what he wanted.

Many years later Christopher found music. He learned how to play the clarinet and was good enough to attend Bayside HS in its music program. Music “centered’ Chris. He loved all types of music. We often said that because he took tap lessons when he was three he heard the beat.

Tonight we are honoring our dear friend Michelle. She has been in our lives for over 25 years. She now owns the Miss Cathy’s Dance studio where all of our grandchildren take dancing lessons. She is dedicated and filled with life.

Since we began our Dinner Dance Michelle has sold raffle tickets, helped with the many gifts and during the night done whatever we needed her to do. She is a great salesperson! Her enthusiasm has helped us raise funds to continue to provide our scholarships each year. She is a wonderful asset.

What makes Michelle so very special is her joy in helping us. She knew Christopher and often speaks about him. All of our Guardian Angels have helped us become a little more successful each year.

The Guardian Angel award is given to someone who has helped our Scholarship fund succeed. Michelle has certainly done that. We are so very honored to give her this award. She not only is our friend but is our special Angel as well.

Congratulations Michelle on your well deserved award. We love you!

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