Permission and Courtesy of Nicholas I. Clement

At the recent A+ pep assembly, when I heard this announcement, “Now Let’s hear it for the Girls’ State Runner-Up Basketball Team,” I expected, the team getting in a circle in the center of the gym and the coach announcing their names muffled through a blasting speaker system to students too preoccupied with texting and updating their Twitter account to care.

Instead I got the unexpected, the entire team doing an elegant dance in full ballet costumes to the “Flight of the Bumblebee” with the entire student body on their feet cheering.

Before I could catch my breath, the football team was out dancing Gangman style, followed by four different school dance teams putting on a Super Bowl like halftime show.

Not to be out-danced, a 30 – member faculty dance troupe closed out the assembly with a country medley including a bringing down the gym two-step.

As I prepared some remarks for graduation, I couldn’t get that assembly out of my mind. It is a total myth that seniors blow off their last year of high school. The class of 2013 has had the most rigorous graduation and testing requirements in history of the state. On top of school commitments, many seniors hold part-time jobs, which in many cases require closing at night. Many school graduation requirements include seniors completing service learning projects where they volunteer for their church and other community agencies. Members of the class of 2013 have also enrolled and completed time – intensive JTED courses (certified nurse assistant, cosmetology, fire science, etc.) at the highest rate since the JTED was founded in 2006. Yet, they still make time to dance.

My advice to the class of 2013: Keep dancing. When you dance, you take incredible risk. You are very vulnerable and you lay it on the line for all to see – good, bad or ugly. In my case, according to these who have to watch, add a fourth category: painful.

In life, you have to do the same; without risk there is no reward. Dancing takes patience, practice and perseverance, as does whatever career you choose to pursue.

Dancing is good for your mind, body and soul. Imagine the positive energy I experienced at the pep assembly in every college classroom and work place. Creativity and productivity would go off the charts. Maybe the solution to our economic problems is not more funding, but more dancing.

Most important of all, as you go out and follow your passion, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t dance.

Nicholas I. Clement is the superintendent of the Flowing Wells Unified School District.