It’s never too late to follow your dream.
That’s the rationale of Newton resident Marcia Rosenthal, 72, a student at the School of Fashion Design. Rosenthal remembers walking by the school, located on Newbury Street, while she was a student at Emerson College and longing to enroll.
“It took more than 50 years, but I got here,” she said. “It’s a dream come true, and I’m so fortunate to pursue it later in life. I absolutely love it. It’s challenging, and I love the professors and the board. I’ve never met a group so invested in wanting you to succeed. And it’s the same with the students. No one is competitive; everyone supports each other.”
Rosenthal spent 33 years in Newton Public Schools as a preschool special education teacher. She has taken 15 courses at the School of Fashion Design and has five more to go to earn her Certificate in Fashion Design.
“I never want to graduate,” she said, laughing.
This spring, Rosenthal was awarded the Dr. Denise Hammon Scholarship in the amount of $1,335 (the equivalent of one course). The scholarship was set up with funding from an alumnus and is given each semester to a student who shows dedication to learning the craft of fashion design and a willingness to help fellow designers in the classroom. It is named after Hammon, who serves as president emerita and is a member of the Board of Trustees.
“When I served as president, I believe the donor saw that my priority was providing resources to students so they could be successful inside and outside of the classroom, and this included financial resources,” said Hammon. “It’s my honor to award the scholarship to Marcia. Over the time she has been a student at the School of Fashion Design, she has demonstrated a dedication to learning and to helping others. She is a consistent champion of others and brings her enthusiasm to the classroom and to all around her.”
“Of course the money helped, but Denise’s words meant more to me,” said Rosenthal. “It’s such an honor.”
In addition to earning the scholarship, Rosenthal was also presented with the Rising Star Award of Collection 2020, presented during Boston Fashion Week in October. The virtual fashion show highlighted students’ work from 2019-20. The entire curriculum went online with the onset of COVID-19 restrictions, but students and staff are looking forward to returning to in-person instruction in the fall. The studio school offers classes in fashion design sketching, construction and patternmaking, French draping and more.
Rosenthal was the third recipient of the Dr. Denise Hammon Scholarship. The 2020 recipients were Milagros Hernandez of Waltham and Misha Sirkin of Wareham.
Hernandez is pursuing her studies part-time, while also working in real estate.
“I always wanted a degree in fashion design and when my husband and I moved to the Boston area, I saw it and said ‘I’m going to do it,’” she said.
Sirkin discovered the school while taking a course at the Museum of Fine Arts and enrolled after high school.
“I wanted to go someplace that would be focused on my interest in the arts,” he said. “Overall, it’s been a wonderful experience and it really opens the door to so many new interests I didn’t even know I had.”