Crowning Inclusivity: Building Community Through Dance
Editor’s note: This article is part of an occasional series designed to highlight student voices and experiences from throughout the district.
Walking through the main hall of Issaquah Middle School, one cannot help but notice the paintings and posters that decorate the walls. For Samiara E., one mural stands out. "Change your mindset" is the message she says she appreciates.
As a young leader, Samiara makes a significant impact through her dedication to inclusivity and joy through dance. As the inspiration of the dance club "Issaquah's Royalty," this remarkable student is ensuring that everyone finds a place on the dance floor.
Samiara has an unclouded vision for "Issaquah’s Royalty:” It’s a place where everyone is welcomed with open arms and people can leave their stress at the door. “We’ve been starting with meditation sessions before [practice] so you can get your mind off things and off school, because you’re not technically in school, but you’re still in the space.” Her goal has been to create a space where members feel valued and included, as she herself feels at peace when she gets to dance.
“I was born dancing. I was always dancing when little; my mom would always play music to clean, and I danced while we cleaned,” Samiara recalls.
One primary focus of the club, other than the actual dancing, is the emphasis on inclusion and community. This is acknowledged in the forms she created for the club. On this form, it states:
"On this team, we treat each other with respect. We grow together, work together, dance and cheer together and become a team together. To be a team, we have to try. Without trying we cannot succeed; therefore, we will have a mind meditation before practice."
“We respect each other’s spaces. We respect each other’s wishes and opinions,” Samiara said, “I just wrote it so everyone can be at peace when we’re together. I just want everyone to have fun.”
“Without effort, we cannot be a be a team,” she said, “To be a team we all have to participate.” Samiara has hopes that the team may work together to choreograph a show that will give each member an active role and allow them each to include ideas. She thinks it would bring her team together more and be a great memory that they could bring with them after middle school.
At the end of the day, Samiara’s leadership helped create community within the school. “Every day we walk around the school not knowing half the people we’re looking at, and then we get to the club, and we’ve all been getting to know each other.”
Her efforts have been noticed by many of the IMS staff members, who all seem to light up when Samiara enters the room. Principal Mark Jergens-Zemuda recognizes her as a captain and a leader.
Through her compassionate leadership and emphasis on enjoyment, this student is shaping "Issaquah's Royalty" into a space where everyone feels like they belong.
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