Student Spotlight: Senior Kaelyn Rojas, Andress High School
(ANDRESS HIGH SCHOOL – Jan. 20, 2023) – Senior Kaelyn Rojas edged out more than 300 Texas dancers to earn the 2023 Texas Dance Educators Association scholarship. The student body president is the first all-state dancer from El Paso to receive the $1,500 scholarship since the organization’s inception in 1979. Community Engagement interviewed Rojas virtually for this edition of Student Spotlight.
EPISD: What did you do to prepare to become an All-State Dancer?
Kaelyn Rojas: On our team, the dancer chosen to become an All- State Dancer is based on seniority. Being the only member on the team with four years of experience and two years as a captain qualified me for the position. My hard work and growth proved to my coach that I was worthy of this position.
EPISD: Tell us about your passion for dance and when you started.
KR: I was in ballet when I was little, but I consider my freshman year the start of my passion for dance. When I first tried out for the team, I didn’t think I would make it, but my coach saw potential in me and that year I was the only freshman on the team. When I first started, I had no experience and rarely made the dances. As discouraging as that was, I knew that the only way to earn my spot was to work hard. Sure enough, it paid off and I slowly began to be in more dances. My junior year I tried out for captain and got the position. Being a captain has not only taught me how to be a leader but also how much I love dancing and coming up with choreography. This year, earning my spot on the All-State Dance Team has really brought dance full circle for me. I started at the bottom and have worked my way to the top which is the most prideful feeling. Despite all the long days and rehearsals, my love for dancing has always kept me going and given me an outlet to express myself. Being in Orchesis (dance group) completely changed my high school experience and has not only made me grow as a dancer but as a young woman.
EPISD: What was your reaction when you found out you received the Texas Dance Educators Association’s academic scholarship?
KR: Finding out that I was the first from El Paso to receive this scholarship not only made me proud of myself but made me honored to represent our city. It was an amazing feeling to know that all the hard work I’ve put in paid off and allowed me to be recognized for my accomplishments.
EPISD: How will the scholarship help you advance your dance performance skills?
KR: This scholarship has encouraged me to pursue dance in college. I plan to audition for the UTEP Dance Team to continue my passion for dance.
EPISD: Where do you plan to go to college and what do you want to study?
KR: I plan on attending UTEP to get my major in biology, then attend medical school to become a pediatrician.
EPISD: What other accolades have you had in dance?
KR: In my time on the team, I have earned awards for Most Improved my freshman year, All- Star Vet my sophomore year and my position as a captain my junior and senior year.
EPISD: What are your honors and achievements in high school?
KR: In high school, I have been in the top 2% of my class all four years.
EPISD: What other extracurricular activities are you involved in?
KR: I am student body president, secretary on the Texas Association of Student Councils District IX Board, in the National Honor Society, on the Principal’s Advisory Committee and senior class vice president.
EPISD: Tell us about your other accomplishments at Andress.
KR: In my time at Andress, I have accomplished high academic achievement as well as many positions I dreamed of having. As cliché as it sounds, I never imagined I could say that I was captain of the dance team and student body president but once I made those positions my goals, I worked every day to achieve them.
EPISD: What have you been doing outside of school activities?
KR: Outside of school I enjoy spending time with my family.
EPISD: Anything you’d like to add?
KR: I would just like to say how honored I am to represent El Paso through this scholarship. I am also very thankful for the opportunity to be spotlighted and recognized. I hope that I’ve encouraged future All-State Dancers to apply and know that anything is possible if you just put your mind to it.