Yesterday was our year end picnic for dance. We had 82 people in the Tallo's backyard for an afternoon of swimming, jumping on the trampoline, swinging on the swingset, digging in the sandbox, eating a picnic dinner, and getting a little gooey with make-your-own sundaes. Feet are a bit tired today (must have done more walking than I thought I did) but the picnic was a success...no rain until the very end, plenty of laughs and even more food.
This year was a little different...this was not only our year end picnic but the last year end picnic the O'Keefe school will ever have as Kathleen will be closing the school in a few weeks.
I started dancing under Kathleen is middle school, around 1993 I believe. I moved to Rochester for college and during those years transitions from student to assistant and have been helping in the school ever since. 16 years (out of the 24 years I've been involved with Irish Dance) with the O'Keefe school. The thought that the school is closing hasn't really hit home yet. It still feels like the end of the year and we all will be returning together in the fall. Unfortuanately that is not the case.
Some kids have decided to be done with dance after this year, others will be joining the new school that is starting, others will be moving over to other Rochester schools. Our O'Keefe family will be spreading out over Rochester.
I will say the teachers getting Kathleen's students have big shoes to fill. Kathleen was a gifted teacher as well as dancer. Every student received her attention in class. She was not a teacher that only worked with the upper level dancers or only those who showed great promise. She watched and worked with every kid every week. She produced a great number of champions over the years, as well as a few teachers!
As for what will be happening with me and Irish dance next year...you will have to stay tuned...