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By Lilliana Miller, Class of 2020

Photography by Adrian VanStee, Class of 2021

Ever since I was three-years-old, I’ve danced in front of windows. Windows paired with no longer white curtains, stained with the challenge of raising two toddlers. Those big kind of windows outlined with heavy duty metal work that rattled when the wind blows. Over time the backgrounds behind the windows have changed, but the windows and backgrounds had nothing to do with it. Nothing to do with my love for movement and dancing.

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In the midst of my hectic home life and changing window street views, my dancing was the one thing I could count on in my life to stay consistent. I was homeschooled from first through eighth grade, so that I could have more time to dance. But I wanted to go to a real high school, so my parents and I started looking at options. I knew a lot of people who went to Timothy, so I decided to shadow.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that it was the right fit. On the first day of school, I remember getting off the bus and knowing almost no one except for a few people I had met on the freshmen retreat. Despite that, I was still bubbling over with excitement when entering the thick glass doors — doors to a new stage of my life.

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At first, I was worried about finding my place in the social world. I thought most people were either already a part of an established group of friends since preschool or found their group of friends through the TCHS jerseys they received playing sports. I was sure that would put me at a disadvantage. Of course, when people found out that I was a dancer their first response was, “You should join the poms team!”

My response was, “I should not!”

They held practice in the cafeteria after school and that was the one thing I couldn’t be flexible on. Despite my yearning for social interaction, I already had too much on my plate to dance in front of windows at school, too.

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Because of this I thought it would be difficult to make friends, but people reached out. One person that reached out, would eventually become one of my best friends. I met her on the bus after the long first day of school. Even though she was two years older, she took me under her wing and even introduced me to her friends. Also, within the first few weeks of school, I was invited to another girl’s birthday party where I was able to meet more people.

Despite my busy schedule, which made me unavailable after school and on most weekends, I was able to make close friends.

Meanwhile, I was still dancing constantly, but as I had hoped, Timothy put me in an environment with supportive teachers who encouraged me and worked around my busy schedule.

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This also made it possible for me to still participate in student events, where I was able to connect with people and make more friends. I participated in Octoberfest in the fall and the Fine Arts Festival in the spring. I also was able to pursue other interests by writing for Trumpet, the school newspaper, and playing harp in the high school orchestra.

In addition to that, I was able to participate in and attend student life events such as dances, basketball games, theme nights, school plays, and more. Even if I wasn’t able to connect with people by participating in after school activities, Timothy events helped break the walls between the separate grades, making it possible for me to connect with people — one of the key steps I needed to take in order to get that regular high school experience I had hoped for.

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I used to think I could only have one or the other: Dancing in front of windows or having the mainstream high school experience that everybody hopes for. Now I know I can have both.

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