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Karlanna Lewis

Majors: Creative Writing & Russian

As a graduating senior, Karlanna Lewis took advantage of a variety of opportunities to enhance her academic experiences at FSU through the University Honors Program. Among attending writing conferences, completing an Honors in the Major Thesis, and taking Honors Courses and Seminars, Karlanna also found time to complete an Honors Service Learning Project.

Through the guidance of The Center for Leadership and Civic Education, and the support of the Honors Program, Karlanna lead a performance dance class at the School of Arts & Sciences as part of their afterschool program. In her service, she helped children learn the freedom of movement, practice various styles of dance, and work toward a final performance.

While many young children dream of learning to dance, of mastering rhythmic and athletic feats with grace, most do not have the chance to actualize these dreams either because the cost of instruction is prohibitive, or students lack the means of getting to a dance school. By learning the art of dance, the young people she worked with had the opportunity to enrich their afterschool time at minimal cost. Karlanna became an advocate for young dancers, claiming: “Dance should not be a limited art, and my project opened it to everyone, even students' peers outside the class.”

The goal of this project was to help every child achieve his or her potential and to showcase individual budding talent. Through the dance class and rehearsals, students not only learned better coordination and musicality, but how to enjoy dance. As a result of Karlanna’s Honors Service Learning Project, the young dancers also learned how intrinsically valuable focus, teamwork, and dedication are, and how necessary they become when working toward producing a final performance. As Karlanna reflects on her project, she concludes: “The simplest measure of a successful project is joy produced, and from the positive energy and smiles put out by the children, the project was a huge success.” Ultimately, these students engaged in an art-form that left a lifetime, lasting impression.