Surprise Mom and Dad… I’m speaking!! I want to thank everyone for being here today to celebrate and congratulate all of the hard work that my fellow graduates and myself have put into our studies for the last four years. I know I would not be here today if it wasn’t for the support of every single friend and family member I have in the audience today. Because of them I have been able to keep my dream of dancing alive. I have danced just about my entire life. I started dancing at the age of 5 after begging my mother to put me in dance lessons, or so she says. Little did she know that 17 years later I would be standing here today at my college graduation pursuing a career as a professional dancer. I am incredibly grateful that she put in the time to drive me to and from the dance studio several nights a week. Several hundred costumes, too many buns to count, and a few dozen recitals later it all paid off. I will admit that coming to college my priorities were not centered on dance, and dance was just a fun escape from all of my other responsibilities. Throughout my four years here at the University of Kansas I became more and more involved with the University Dance Company and rediscovered my passion for this art form. Most dancers don’t realize they can continue to dance after high school, through college and beyond. It may be to pursue the professional career or to simply keep the great gift of dance in your life. I am so happy that I decided to continue my study of dance here at KU. I did come to college ready to pursue a strong academic career studying math and pre-med, but I refused to give up dance. It had already been such a large part of my life for 13 years that I could not walk away from the joy and excitement I got from dancing. I pursued a degree in dance along with my other studies to keep dancing and to keep myself sane. Even though dance can be the most time consuming part of my life it is the only way I can relax and is my main de-stressor. I can say that it was the best decision that I have ever made. As my freshman year went on I found myself looking for as many ways possible to keep dance in my life for as long as I could. My dream to dance professionally became stronger and stronger. And I am happy to say has finally come true. However, my plans to be a doctor have never faded and will still be my future. I know that dance will never leave me as I continue with those plans. I will always be taking a class, watching performances, or teaching. Supporting the arts is just as important and rewarding as participating. Dance is a large part of my life and always will be no matter where I end up. I wish the same for every dancer out there, especially to those graduating today and all those who choose to dance at KU. I want to thank everyone again for being here to support each of us graduates as we go forth into the world and continue to celebrate the art of dancing. Rock Chalk!!!