A Hampton Bays High School student has spearheaded a virtual dance program for her district's elementary schoolers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tara Lauther, a senior, hosted half-hour classes twice weekly as part of summer and winter sessions that attracted 12 and 14 children, respectively. The classes explored styles ranging from ballet to jazz and were held via Zoom and Google Classroom.
To launch the free program, Lauther proposed the idea to the district's superintendent, Lars Clemensen, and then spread the word to parents via e-mail with the help of the district's athletic director, Drew Walker.
"It's important that we keep students engaged and doing things they love outside of their core subjects," Lauther, 17, said. Of the program's success so far, she said: "It really has exceeded my expectations."
Lauther is also her president of her school's Class of 2021 and Leo Club, a member of the National and Tri-M Music honor societies, and founder her school's Compassion Week, a week of mental health awareness and anti-gun violence. She has also studied dance for 14 years.
In addition, Lauther is getting an associate’s degree in general liberal arts this summer from Suffolk County Community College, where she has taken classes after school for the past three semesters. She also accumulated college credits through her school's Advanced Placement classes and the college's Beacon Program.