A Full Circle Story…Leah’s Life at the Connection

Leah first came to The Connection via the AfterSchool program. She has fond memories of her experience, especially recalling the impact and inspiration of staff like Michelle Stelluto. Leah stated, “Michelle is like a second mother to me. She has always been there to give advice, help me with school work, or to encourage me to relax and rest.”

Leah credits her time in AfterSchool with introducing her to the wide variety of programming offered at The Connection which inspired her to look into gymnastics. She noted Simone Biles sparked her interest in the sport and this motivated her to begin the challenge of trying something new. After learning basic gymnastics skills and navigating the different aspects of the sport, she had an injury that resulted in her taking some time off to heal. While thinking about her next steps, she stumbled upon the world of dance at The Connection, which offered its own unique opportunities and adventures. She began as a lyrical student and tried out for the dance team the following year. Initially a Silver Team member, the pandemic forced the combination of dance teams together, which she said was a silver lining, because it allowed her to see and eventually become a member of the Gold Team. Leah loves the feeling of being on a team and working with others to become better for a common goal. Moreover, the dance team has allowed her to see and feel the benefits of commitment. Leah said, “Competition is fun. I love the feeling of adrenaline I get when I’m performing.”

Aside from dancing at The Connection a few days each week, Leah also volunteers as an assistant helping to teach our littlest dancers. Leah commented, “I’ve learned to be patient with children and I’ve also come to understand how exciting it is to see them develop a new skill over time. It feels good to give back.” Volunteering has allowed her to see the organization in a different light and think about new opportunities. Leah added, “I’d like to do a solo next year. I’m always thinking about what else I can do at The Connection.” 

When not in or helping to lead dance classes, Leah is enjoying life as a sixth grade student. She enjoys math and science, music by Olivia Rodrigo, and various technology applications. Leah best summarizes The Connection as “family.”