More Than a Break

Local Youth Share Their Summer Adventures

For some local students, summer was all about adventure and making an impact. Here’s proof that summer can be more than a break.

Dancing on the High Seas

Bailey Lindeman made a splash this summer, dancing across a cruise ship stage. In June, she boarded a five-day cruise to the Western Caribbean with a 39-member dance team from West Chester Academy. One unforgettable evening, they were the entertainment, filling the floating stage with an upbeat routine featuring dances from across the decades. The dance team also took a master class from a professional dancer while aboard.

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Bailey says. “To be able to be on a cruise with all of my friends and dance was so much fun.” 

The cruise performance was the grand finale to 11 years of Bailey’s dancing with West Chester Academy. She graduated from Lakota West High School in May and will be starting classes toward a Chemistry major at The Ohio State University this fall. 

“I’m going to miss it a lot next year,” she adds. “It was my last time dancing with my team. It was the perfect wrap-up for me.”

5 Memorable Moments

  1. Swimming with dolphins was Bailey’s favorite excursion.

  2. Rehearsal was a challenge on a stage that rocked back and forth in the ocean waves.

  3. Bailey showed off her zombie moves to the classic 80s song, “Thriller.” 

  4. The dancers were rewarded with wild applause from a packed theater.

  5. The no-pressure performance.

“When we competed, we had pressure to win, but we were able to dance just for us and enjoy it,” Bailey shares.

Competing in the Capital

Some put away scholarly projects for the summer, but not Owen Bailey, Lucas Moody, Mason Ruggiero and Matthew Szczepaniak. The four students from Plains Junior School geared up to compete at the 2019 National Technology Student Association (TSA) Conference in Washington D.C.

The team started working together last December, building and programming a robot to perform specified tasks. They were among 77 students representing Lakota at the national-level competition. TSA hosts national competitions in 70 Science, Technology, Engineering and Math categories each summer.

Working together as a team was a large part of the learning experience. 

“We had to put our disagreements aside and not let them carry over into the competition,” says Mason. 

“Everyone has opinions. We have to respect that—you can’t always think you are right,” adds Lucas. 

“In the end, we realized we all had the same goal: to make our hometown proud,” says Mason. “We ended up getting 20th place in the nation. We were excited and did the best that we could,” he says.

5 Lessons

  1. The students learned the importance of time management as they worked through the summer.

  2. Compromise—to succeed, they used the best ideas from each team member.

  3. Independence was key during the five days in D.C., away from their families.

  4. Programming is fun! The team enjoyed the fast pace and trial-and-error process.

  5. Critical-thinking skills—the team needs everyone’s brain power to function at its best.

Lending a Hand in Appalachia

When Eden Michelson, signed up for a service trip, she was expecting to help others. After a week of hard work in the hot sun, she discovered that the biggest impact was on herself. 

Eden, a rising senior at Lakota East, joined 25 other teens and adults from Lord of Life Lutheran Church, West Chester, on an Appalachia Service Project (ASP) in Hazard, Kentucky. The mission of ASP is to repair and replace homes for impoverished people of rural Central Appalachia. For her, the trip was just as much about building relationships as it was about the building sites. 

“I love meeting new people and growing closer to old friends,” Eden says. “It wasn’t all work—there were also fun times when we got to hang out, play games, exchange stories and have fun.”

“Yeah, we were helping others, but this kind of trip helps me, too,” she adds. “Seeing how little others have humbles me and makes me think. I remember how much I have and how blessed I am.”

5 Transformations

  1. Carpentry, painting and roofing are new skills on Eden’s résumé.

  2. Eden learned to beat the heat with a cool attitude—and lots of water. 

  3. “We is greater than me” became the week’s motto—a reminder to think of others first. 

  4. Going unplugged in the mountains—a wi-fi dead zone—meant more meaningful personal connections. 

  5. More stuff doesn’t equal more happiness. 

“Helping others is what makes me happy,” Eden shares.

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