connecticut river academy success stories 2021

Creative Scholar Spotlight: Damarilis “Dama” Rosado

Creative Scholar Spotlight: Damarilis “Dama” Rosado
How this Latina activist, artist, designer, singer, and soon-to-be small business owner found success at Connecticut River Academy (CTRA)

  • Expected graduation year: Class of 2021
  • Hometown: Hartford, CT
  • Interests: Designing, drawing, music, painting, reading, singing, and writing
  • Professional ambitions: My future career will be flexible, in my complete control, and utilize my skills and creativity. I hope to continue designing, whether it be customizing shoes to designing houses.

When creations come to life

Damarilis “Dama” Rosado started drawing Mickey Mouse and Bart Simpson cartoons around six-years-old.

“I would draw everywhere,” Dama expressed, “on the corner of my homework, my skin, and the whiteboards at school.”

Next, Damarilis became fixated on eyes and trees — which later influenced her to practice full-faced portraits and landscape paintings.

Out of all color combinations, Dama’s favorites are brown, sapphire blue, and “pretty greens.”

“Those colors bring me back to the origin of the world,” she explained. “They are earthy colors and represent my down-to-earth personality.”

Dama also credits two well-known illustrators for her artistic inspiration.

“I honestly love [the late] Bob Ross,” Damarilis laughed. “His videos are so easy to follow, and I really enjoy how calm and passionate he is while giving his tutorials.”

“God also inspires me,” she shared. “According to my belief system, God created the world, which brings me to believe he was the very first artist. I see the world as his canvas, and I aspire to paint the world the way he did — wonderfully.”

Connecticut River Academy: Where academics meet the arts

“I choose Connecticut River Academy (CTRA) because the school revolves around community and self-expression, and I love that,” Dama specified.

Not only academically inclined but also adaptable — for three years in a row, Dama has made Connecticut River Academy’s honor role, including during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“CTRA made virtual learning easier because they allowed diversity of choice when it came to selecting the ways we learn best,” she described. “Teachers were considerate of the circumstances at hand, they supported our input on ways to make online learning better, and they continually reassured us.”

When the school was instructing on campus, Damarilis was also an active participant in the institution’s magnet-themed days and school-wide events like Girl Cott, a student-led club that brings awareness to essential women’s issues.

An artistic student who found her fit, Dama also performed poetry pieces for Black History Month and sang for several of the magnet school’s events and open mics.

“I loved every event hosted at CTRA,” the scholar conveyed gratefully. “Open mics were my outlet, and I enjoyed connecting with the crowd.”

Now in her senior year, Dama reflected on the relationships she formed with her educators.

“I’ve had deep conversations with teachers who gave me the space to vent, express myself, and say things I don’t feel comfortable telling many people,” Dama detailed. “And I will never forget the support from my chorus teacher who helped me become a better singer, performer, and person.”

Finding success and starting her own small business

On the cusp of commencement, creating will continue for Damarilis even after graduation has come and gone.

Most recently, Dama started establishing her own small business — customizing shoes into works of wearable art.

“While canvases are hung at home, painting on shoes gives people the opportunity to wear their uniqueness,” the upperclassman illustrated.

Using social media to sell, Dama advertises her work on Instagram using the handle @Dama.CustomKicks.

Recently, Dama completed one of her favorite orders after a customer gave her creative license to paint whatever she pleased on a pair of shoes. The final footwear product featured a space theme on one side, while the opposite shoe showcased the customer’s nickname.

“That design was my favorite because it allowed me to be as imaginative as possible while catering to my customer,” Damarilis highlighted.

As for her small business plans for the future, Dama hopes to one day create shoes from scratch while eventually expanding her brand.

“Anyone, especially with creative talents, should start thinking about their career as soon as possible,” Dama advised prospective CTRA students. “There’s a good chance you can put your talents to work now, and Connecticut River Academy has so many resources you can take advantage of!”

CTRA inspires Dama to get down to business

Currently awaiting college acceptance letters, Damarilis plans to major in business next fall.

A student of CTRA’s early college model, Dama will have earned 27 college credits from Goodwin University by the time she graduates high school.

“The early college model taught me how to be accountable for myself and better manage my time between work, homework, and other activities,” the senior acknowledged.

“During my time at CTRA, teachers pushed me to try everything — they always encouraged me to use my artistic talents in everything I did. They allowed me to use visual art or poetry to show my understanding and get my message across,” she enlightened.

“Students thinking about attending CTRA should know that they will always have an opportunity to shine and express themselves here — the school is truly a safe place to be who you want to be.”


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For more information, visit:
Apply online or sign up for an information session today.