Lindsey Carroll has studied at Jane’s School of Dance in Versailles since she was 5 years old. She began assisting with instruction when she was in sixth grade, and now she teaches some of the younger girls how to choreograph their solo routines.
As a senior at Woodford County High School, she is hoping her love of dance will take her to college and beyond. And her future looks bright.
“I think I’ve always just had the mentality of, if I’m going to do anything, I have to give 110 percent,” she said. “My passion behind (dance) is what drives me to want to get better and better every single day, because it is just what makes me feel like that’s what I was put on Earth to do. It makes me feel like this is what I’m supposed to be doing.”
Her passion for dance was part of the reason she won the Distinguished Young Women of Kentucky scholarship competition earlier this year. The Distinguished Young Women organization was known as Junior Miss until 2010. In 1963, Diane Sawyer, who grew up in Louisville, was the first America’s Junior Miss winner from Kentucky. Other Kentucky winners were Lydia Hodson Copeland of Lexington in 1972, Taylor Phillips of Versailles in 2006 and Michelle Rodgers of Winchester in 2009.
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Lindsey performed a tap dance for the talent portion of the competition.
“Lindsey did an amazing job,” said Mary Fehrenbach, chairwoman of Distinguished Young Women of Kentucky. “We think she will do exceptionally well at nationals.”
The national competition will be held June 23 to 25 in Mobile, Ala. Winners from the 50 states and the District of Columbia will compete at the national finals for more than $150,000 in cash scholarships and $800 million in scholarships granted by colleges.
Lindsey learned about the organization from several young women at her dance studio who have had success with it. High school girls become eligible to compete for the scholarship money the summer after their junior year.
“We have a very strong local program,” Lindsey said. “Our committee is great in preparing the girls for both local and state, and so I felt confident they were giving me the skills to be as successful as I could there.”
School and dance take up most of Lindsey’s time — she dances 12 to 18 hours a week, depending on whether a competition is coming up.
In addition to dance, she has been president of her class since her sophomore year, and she is chapter vice president of the Key Club, one of the oldest and largest community service programs for high school students. She is also involved in Pep Club, the National Honor Society & Beta Club and DanceGold, a mini-marathon version of the University of Kentucky’s DanceBlue.
“The thing that stands out to me the most (about Lindsey) is what an exceptionally hard-working young woman she is,” Fehrenbach said.
Almost 300 girls participated in Kentucky Distinguished Young Women competitions this year, but Lindsey competed against just 33 for the prize she won, Fehrenbach said.
This year Kentucky’s division gave out more than $26,000 in scholarships. Lindsey got $5,000.
Lindsey plans to pursue a bachelor of arts degree in dance performance at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., and to take biology, chemistry and physics courses to develop the groundwork for a future medical career.
“We probably knew about four or five years ago that she was very interested in pursuing a dance career,” said her mother, Donna Carroll.
Lindsey’s professional dance aspirations became even more clear to her parents when she performed in a production of 42nd Street at The Lexington Theatre Company this past summer.
“I think she has a good chance to be able to perform … at a professional level,” Donna Carroll said. “For her to be happy is our main aspiration. We try to be supportive and also give her a lot of guidance.”
After Lindsey’s four years as an undergraduate student and before she goes to medical school, she wants to move to New York City for a few years and be either a Radio City Rockette or a dancer in a Broadway ensemble.
Lindsey chose Chapman University because of its prestigious dance program and because she was offered its Presidential Scholarship, worth $108,000 over four years. She was offered the scholarship after winning the Distinguished Young Women of Kentucky competition. She’ll be one of 30 new students to Chapman University’s dance program.
“It really is a great experience and a great opportunity for the young ladies, who are really the cream of the crop within our state, to go on and be rewarded for their hard work and their academic excellence,” Fehrenbach said of the Distinguished Women program.