South Jordan valedictorian pursuing dancing dream
Jun 22, 2020 12:07PM
By Libby Allnatt
By Libby Allnatt | [email protected]
As schools remained closed through the spring due to the coronavirus pandemic, many high school seniors had a different graduation experience than what they expected.
One of those graduates is student and dancer Tiffany Hipple of South Jordan. With the honor of valedictorian, Hipple was asked to give a speech to her fellow graduates for a virtual ceremony May 27.
“It was not what I expected,” she said. “But at the end of the day it’s about relaying that important message that we’re all in this together. We have what it takes to become successful adults, and that’s what’s most important.”
Hipple said she learned that being valedictorian was a possibility during her sophomore year, but she tried not to get too fixated on it.
“My main goal was just to work hard and get the best grades I can,” she said. “If I get valedictorian great; if I don’t, I did my best. I try not to compare myself to others. Everyone has their own struggles. If I’m doing what I can, that’s the best I can do. That’s all I can ask for.”
Hipple strove to take at least one honors class a year, whether it be English, world government or biology. She graduated from the online school Utah Connections Academy, which she began attending after seventh grade to have more time for training in dance.
“The reason I started to do online school was so I could have more time to live out my dream and train as much as I can,” she said. “So, by the time I graduated, I’d be more ready and prepared to become a professional dancer. That’s really my dream in life.”
Hipple was originally planning on moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in dance, until the coronavirus pandemic. Now she plans to attend Utah Valley University, a plan with definite upsides, she said.
“This can be good; I’ll still be training where my family is,” she said. “I can train at my studio and work and do all that really fun stuff.”
Hipple typically trains at Pointe Academy in Highland, although she trains at home more now. She trains in all styles, but her favorites are jazz, ballroom and contemporary.
“They make it so personal; they make it feel like a second home,” she said of the studio. “Before COVID happened, I was there probably 20 to 30 hours a week. Now, I train around 40 hours a week because I’m home, and I’m not doing school. I’m training all day. It’s been great, although I do miss it.”
Hipple said that seeing her friends from the studio less is difficult, but they find ways to keep in touch, including chatting on Zoom.
She said it’s important for young people to know that while the situation is not ideal, with uncertain futures and upended plans, it’s important to still have motivation and confidence.
“We’re all in the same boat, dealing with the same thing,” she said. “There’s a lot that is going on but because we are going through this, it gives us a little edge and grit that we can really push past any challenge that we’re given and fight for our future.”