The student online newsmagazine of SHS

The Journal Rewired

The student online newsmagazine of SHS

The Journal Rewired

The student online newsmagazine of SHS

The Journal Rewired

From the heart

Teacher and coach turns her dreams into reality and aims to change the lives of students
The dance team performed at the fall pep session on Sept. 27. The team’s theme this year is ‘Robbers on the Run.’ photo by Darcy Leber

From the moment Jessi Walpole was in second grade, she knew her calling. She was going to change the lives of students and provide them with an endless amount of support and dedication that she received from her teacher despite the difficulties she faced while growing up. 

Giving them that glimpse of unconditional love, Walpole was able to begin her journey at the heart of SHS by being an English teacher and Dance coach.

Although her journey was not easy, her passion for dance and teaching became her refuge, and she fought to make her dreams become a reality. 

“I’m lucky that I know why I show up every day,” Walpole said. “I don’t ever say I’m going to work because I’m lucky enough to get to do something I’ve always wanted to do.” 

After graduating from Indiana University, Walpole first started out being a teacher at Franklin Community Middle School. She tried to create a dance team during her time there, but when it didn’t work out, she decided to find another community.

Walpole came to SHS and felt like this could be the place for her. Now, she has been teaching at SHS for 13 years. 

During her first year, there were over 70 people on the dance team. They first started out as just home performances, but over the years, they became more serious and started trying out for many competitions. 

“Our goal is to build technique and to just be a better version of what we were like when we started,” Walpole said. 

Like any coach, she also faced some challenges within the team. With the dance team not receiving any school money nor Walpole herself getting paid, finding her voice has been a huge obstacle.

Although she was facing trouble, she has gotten better at it, and this year, the athletic department had even offered to buy the team’s uniforms and start paying Walpole. 

“Me being able to find the confidence to say we deserve better is the biggest shift,” Walpole said. “We represent our school while we come to these games and cheer on our athletes and dance at halftime and continue to stay even when we don’t have to.”

Although the dance team has endured many struggles, they have also had many successful moments.

For the last two years in a row, a few of their dances took first place at Nationals, and in 2022, captain Alex Torres received Showcase Diamond, which is the highest award you can get of any rank or rating. 

One of the things that Walpole is looking forward to this year is having a male member to be part of the team. She is hoping that senior Sephanie Mabrouck will be able to show his skill, and with the combination of confidence and excitement, Walpole is excited to see what he can contribute to the team. 

“And I really hope that the choreographer that they’re working with this year really inspires them to work harder,” Walpole said. “I really want them to surpass and be able to show your audience that you want more than anybody else.” 

Mabrouck has been dancing since he was 5 years old back home in Africa. Growing up surrounded by people who dance, he was inspired to do the same.

When he arrived at SHS, he talked to his counselor about his passion for dancing, and they then directed him to Walpole. 

“I’m trying to see how I can change or show them the way I dance back home,” Mabrouck said. 

Dance means a lot to Mabrouck. Growing up not having much, he was able to find ways to entertain himself and dance was one of them.

One of the struggles he is facing is learning how to dance hip hop. Since he’s not very into hip hop dance, he finds it a struggle to learn but is willing to overcome that obstacle.

“I appreciate the opportunity and the chance to join this amazing team, and although I’m the only guy in there, I think it’s been really great so far,” Mabrouck said. 

Junior Lucy Kautsky is also currently on the dance team. Like Mabrouck, she has been dancing since at a young age and first joined the dance team during her freshman year after seeing a flier. 

Dance has always been part of her life. 

“It’s just part of my daily routine”.  Kautsky said. We all grew up with certain things and that’s just something I grew up with, and I don’t know a life without it.” 

Kautsky is also able to connect with Walpole as more than just a coach. She sees her as a friend and also a mother figure. 

Throughout her time in the dance team, she feels like she has grown as a person as it has aided her with her social skills and also helped her think faster. Last year, she also won nationals and is looking forward to this year’s competition.

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About the Contributor
Zing Par
Zing Par, Arts and Entertainment Reporter
Hello everyone, my name is Zing Par and I am a senior at SHS. This is my second year with The Journal, and after taking a year off, I've decided to return and join this wonderful community of writers and editors. I previously wrote for the Entertainment section and opted to continue honing my writing skills in the most enjoyable section. Apart from this group, I also enjoy playing tennis and making crafts during my free time. I am frequently classified as a "creative person," and I wear that label with pride. Whether it is thinking of creative ideas for a project or coming up with silly ideas to craft, I am often filled with endless possibilities of things that I can do. Having said that, I hope to be able to use my skills to further my education in Occupational Therapy and contribute to The Journal. I am very happy to return here, and I hope to make even more amazing memories in my last year.    

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