JUSTINE Tesoriero was lost for words when she was named the Youth winner at last week's Blacktown Business Awards.
"I was so shocked," the 20-year-old dance teacher said later.
"I hadn't even prepared anything to say because I really didn't think I would win.
"I was very honoured and grateful to receive the award."
Ms Tesoriero, who works at Studio Dance in Kings Park, credited her employer Christa Anthony and her fellow teachers for helping her win the honour.
"Together they make it such a great community to work in," she said.
"As a unit, we strive to not only teach dance to the kids, but to have fun and instil important skills such as confidence.
"I also credit the students and their families.
"Their passion for dance and the other styles we provide makes teaching so rewarding."
Ms Anthony nominated Ms Tesoriero for the award to acknowledge her contribution to her studio.
"Justine is a lovely accomplished young lady who, along with her colleagues, makes owning and running a business a pleasure," Ms Anthony said.
Ms Tesoriero said her employer won the award in 2012 "so I'm privileged to follow in her footsteps".
She started assistant dance teaching when she was 14 and has been a teacher for three years.
"I joined Studio Dance in 2013 teaching ballet, lyrical and contemporary," she said.
"I was then offered the position of acrobatics teacher and, with encouragement from Christa, I recently completed my training as a junior acrobatics coach.
'I am also studying a double degree of psychology and English literature at Macquarie University."
While Ms Tesoriero plans to be a psychologist, she hopes teaching and dance will remain part of her life.