How has it been 9 years? I am so grateful that I have been able to spend that much of my life doing what I love here at CPAC. I remember watching the 2013 Showcase and watching the people I’ve now grown up with perform on stage. The next year I auditioned for the competition team, never expecting the impact it would have on my life. To this day, I am still inspired by watching my teammates, some of the same people I watched on that stage. The energy you all create on stage and in the studio will never cease to amaze me. I am reminded everyday of how fortunate I am to be a part of it. The bond we have as a team and as a family is unparalleled and I don’t know if I’ll be lucky enough to experience anything like it again. Growing up here, I have learned to give my all on everything I do and not save my energy. There is no point in doing anything if you aren’t going to give it 100 percent. With this mentality, nothing else matters besides what is happening right now in this studio or on this stage, so I don’t have to worry about what is to come in 30 seconds, 2 hours, or 2 weeks. This is one of the many things I will take from CPAC. Everyone here has done so much for each of us. Thank you Zack, you are the best first ballet teacher by teaching me the importance of self-awareness and strength in my dancing, as well as respect in and out of class. You never let me slack off and that accountability showed that you believed in me. Thank you Kristen, you taught me how to dance in ballet and pay attention to every detail about what I am doing. I learned from you that there is always something I can be working on and doing to make myself better. Each correction you give helps my dancing so much and I am so grateful to learn from you. Thank you Jordan, I have learned so much from your combos and choreography. Each is different and makes me think about dance differently. You gave me my first solo last year and you were so supportive through the whole process. I was always so nervous to perform and you gave me the best advice that I will always take with me: to never try to recreate a moment on stage, but to create a different one. After having a good experience with something, it is sometimes difficult to make the exact same thing happen again. You could tell I was worried about that and always helped me fix it. My solo transformed my dancing and it was a piece I truly loved. Jen, words cannot describe how grateful I am for you. It is evident in everything you do how much you love each of us and this team. Thank you for making this team what it is and me who I am. You exemplify how I want to be in life and I will forever find ways to be more like you. The biggest thank you of all goes to Mrs. Nancy Laurie. None of this would be possible without you and I am endlessly grateful for the opportunities you have given me and everyone on this team. Thank you for creating this beautiful space to learn and do what I love everyday. Of course, I wouldn’t be here without the constant support from my family. Mom, Dad, Papa, Nana, Kate, and Keaton: thank you for watching me do what I love and cheering me on from the audience or from the livestream. Having that support when I am so nervous means the world to me. Thank you CPAC for the best 9 years. I’ll miss everything about you. Chaka forever!