NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A unique summer boot camp is helping low-income middle school students in the five boroughs compete for spots in the rigorous performing arts high schools.

As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, 150 students participated in Lincoln Center’s two-week audition boot camp this summer.

“The kids are coming from either living at or below the poverty line,” said Russell Granet, executive director for Lincoln Center Education, which has a partnership with the city Department of Education. “So these are kids that we believe wouldn’t otherwise have the resources to get into these schools.”

Prospective students must audition for seats in performing arts schools.

“We want to level the playing field and ensure that all kids at least have access to high-quality schools,” Granet said.

“It is helpful because they push you to do more than you thought you couldn’t do,” Amanda Yvette Beaz, 13, of the Bronx, said of the boot camp.

A middle school student participates in Lincoln Center Education's boot camp to help kids audition for performing arts high school. (Credit: Marla Diamond/WCBS 880)

A middle school student participates in Lincoln Center Education’s boot camp to help kids audition for performing arts high school. (Credit: Marla Diamond/WCBS 880)

Baez has dreams of attending LaGuardia High School, whose alumni include Liza Minnelli, Jennifer Aniston and Nicki Minaj. And history shows she just might make it.

“You can’t argue with the fact that 90 percent of our kids got into specialized high schools out of the hundred that were here,” Granet said. “The results from last year were fabulous.”