By Divya Joseph
Some of the most unique learning experiences come away from a classroom and textbooks. Deja Williams and Kamryn Chadwick, two Visions In Education 11th graders, learned a very unique lesson of perseverance, teamwork, self-identity away from the classroom as they competed as a team in the television show America’s Got Talent.
Williams and Chadwick were discovered when Greg Chapkis, their dance instructor, sent a video of them dancing with their team to the show. The video was viewed by Cris Judd, a well-known backup dancer and choreographer for performers such as Michael Jackson and Usher. The Chapkis Dance Family was flown out for more auditions in Los Angeles and New York. The team was able to successfully perform and was able to secure a spot to compete in the semi-finals of the show.
The two dancers say that the lessons they learned while dancing is not comparable to any of the lessons they have learned in their textbooks. The teamwork, commitment, and physical requirements that the show asked for taught them life lessons they will always cherish. “I love the overall experience of being on the show,” says Williams, “I wish I could relive it all again.”
“When I am dancing the world becomes still to me,’’ says Williams. “I feel like I am flying and no one can touch me.”
“Dancing is my life,” says Chadwick, “I always feel so carefree and happy when I dance. All I concentrate on are my moves and my team.”
Williams and Chadwick are both stellar students who in addition to high school courses are also taking college level courses and yet manage to practice their dancing for four to eight hours a day.
The two students dream of getting a higher education and excelling in school. Williams dreams of getting a psychology degree and owning her own dance studio. “I already have it all planned out,” she says, “I am going to go on tours for my dance and eventually become a choreographer and eventually I will own my own studio.”
Chadwick says she wants to be a teacher and pursue dance on the side. “I actually love the idea of being a Visions teacher,” she says, “I love the flexibility the course offered me to pursue my passion but I also love the idea of going to my students house and getting to know them well.
Both these students emphasize the importance of being well rounded in school. They believe that academics are a very important part of growth but it is important to also be a part of something that you are passionate about. “Visions definitely helped me give the space to pursue dance,” says Williams.
“The great thing about the Visions environment is that it gives students the ability to pursue a passion and that is important.” Says Visions Teacher Olivia Johnston , “Even if they don’t pursue it into adulthood it always leaves a positive mark in their lives. These kids who are part of the arts learn such valuable skills as discipline, team work and a sense of responsibility. These are all skills that will help someone lifelong.”