Profile of a CCISD Graduate, Part 1

Profile of a CCISD Graduate, Part 1
Posted on 05/25/2017
Maddie Medina

At only 18, Maddie Medina has already learned more than some people ever will in a lifetime.

She’s learned that hard work is essential to success, regardless of how talented a person is, and that finding a healthy balance in life is the key to happiness, she said.

Those life lessons – along with having a loving and supportive family – are what Maddie believes was key to her success as a dancer and now will lead her to study at The Juilliard Company next fall.

“This is my dream,” Maddie said. “This is it. I can’t believe I’ve made it this far.”

Maddie is one of 12 girls and 12 boys selected from across the country to attend the prestigious performing arts conservatory in New York City. There she will attend the school for four years where she will receive extensive training in dance, which she hopes to make her professional career in the future.

She went through an intense audition process in Dallas, which began by taking multiple dance classes, receiving critiques and applying them to a routine, and performing a solo dance, all while being judged by a number of Juilliard’s elite.

But she didn’t find out she had been accepted until a month after her audition over spring break while she was at a lake house with her best friend.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” Maddie said. “I must have said, ‘Oh my gosh’ at least 25 times in the few minutes I was on the phone with them.”

Maddie has loved dance, especially ballet, since she was 3-years-old. Even then she has fond memories of dancing around her house perfecting every position, she said. But it wasn’t until sixth grade that she decided she wanted to make a future career out of her love for dance.

“Dance just feels right,” Maddie said. “It feels good on my body and is what makes me happy.”

This fall was Maddie’s first year at Clear Brook High School. Before attending Clear Brook, she spent three years studying at The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston.

At The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston classes were difficult and the hours were long, she said. In class she would spend three hours dancing and after school she would dedicate another five hours to practice.

“It was a huge commitment, but it was also really hard,” Maddie said.

It’s hard because there’s always pressure and a desire to be better, she said.

She knew she needed to take a step back and find a good balance in her life, she said. Which is why she decided to spend her senior year at Clear Brook High School.

There she had the opportunity to get to meet students who were not dancers and even go to a high school football game for the first time.

“That was all new to me,” Maddie said. “I’m so glad I got to experience it.”

Doing that is what she thinks ultimately made her a better dancer, she said.

“Taking a step back made me stronger,” Maddie said.

And she never lost sight of her goal. While enrolled at Clear Brook High School, Maddie has continued to devote countless hours to dance practice with her company in Houston. Last summer she even spent time training in New York City at the American Ballet Theater.

Now, beginning in August, she will get to call New York City home.

“I think I’m in the right place,” Maddie said. “I’m so glad I made it this far.”

Maddie hopes the training she receives at Juilliard prepares her to one day land a job dancing professionally for a company, but ultimately she hopes to be teaching dancers like herself.

“If I have all of this experience, why would I just waste it?” she said. “I’m glad my dreams are coming true, but I would love to be able to share that with others too.”

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