When Alana Robinson closes her eyes, she pictures herself on a Broadway stage in New York City. She dreams of bright lights, musical scores and cheering audiences.
As lead senior vocalist for the Duke Ellington Show Choir Ensemble, Robinson dedicates most of her time to singing, dancing and performing. A graduating senior at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Robinson has performed across the Washington metropolitan area as a vocalist and dancer.
However, unlike many of her peers, Robinson regularly leaves the stage for the track, where she competes as a sprinter. She started running to stay in shape for cheerleading, but eventually fell in love with the sport. Because Duke Ellington doesn’t have a track team, Robinson competed as part of the Woodrow Wilson Senior High track team.
“Running is something I do to stay level-headed,” she said. “When I’m running, it clears my mind.”
Robinson—a key member of Wilson’s 2016 relay team—said the importance of teamwork and communication is transferable from the track to the stage.
“They require the same commitment,” she said. “Even though with track, most of the time I’m doing individual races, there’s always a time when we do relays, so I have to get with my team to practice. Her performances with the Ellington choir requires the same team participation. There might be solos here and there, but we’re all still one big group.”
Robinson was recently honored as a recipient of the 2015-16 District of Columbia State Athletic Association’s Student-Athlete Scholarship. The scholarship is reserved for student-athletes who lead not only in athletics, but also thrive in the classroom and community.
“I think just by virtue of competing in high school athletics, sort of automatically elevates them to some extent in the eyes of their peers,” said the association’s executive director, Clark Ray. “Being able to juggle some demands of school and competitive athletic venture, it just goes hand in hand.”
In addition to track and Ellington show choir, Robinson also competes in pageants. She was named first runner-up in the 2015 Miss District of Columbia Teen USA pageant. During summers, she works as a lifeguard at the local pool.
Despite juggling a full-time schedule, Robinson was able to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.31. She will study musical theater at Temple University in the fall, and hopes to continue running in college.