Having put their steps together as a team, a group of Westridge students recently shared a grand finale dance performance with their school community.
The Westridge Hip Hop Club performance was one of many features at the school’s annual Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math Night. It also highlighted the work of students and their sponsor, Wendy Harris, who led the club as part of a grant provided by and partnership with InterUrban ArtHouse.
The club gave students an opportunity to learn dance moves and vocabulary, technique, exercise, and provided a safe place for students to learn and have fun together after school, Harris said. But, she said most importantly she wanted students to build confidence, self-esteem, and leadership skills. Teaching dance to groups of students has a way of bringing those qualities out of students, she noted.
“This group has been awesome,” Harris said. “They’ve been pushing and encouraging each other the entire time and that has been such a pleasure to watch.”
The class was always enjoyable, even though there was a lot to learn and remember about posture, technique, and confidence, Skylar Storey, seventh-grader said.
“When I’m dancing I don’t think about it I just try to have fun and enjoy having fun with my friends,” Storey explained.
Seventh-grader Americea Jackson-Clements said she joined the club knowing her friends would be involved and because she’s enjoyed dance for a long time.
“It’s been a lot of fun dancing, bonding, and with everyone helping one another,” she said. “I’ll be nervous at the performance because it will be a big thing. But, I know I’ll be proud of myself.”
In addition to the hip hop performance, STEAM night also featured student inventions and project presentations, interactive activities, the Shawnee Mission East forensics Club, Westridge Robotics and Shawnee Mission West Robotics, Shawnee Mission West Project Lead the Way students, and demonstrations hosted by a variety of partners. Caring for Kids partners Westbrooke Community Church also provided food for attendees.
“There was a great turnout and the STEAM Night was a positive, engaging experience for our students and their families,” Principal Jeremy McDonnell said.