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As a five-year-old sitting in a stadium watching my sister perform her ”I’m in Love With a Monster” show choir performance I was kind of terrified of the ferocious monsters. I thought that the monsters were going to drop off the stage and run after me. The one thing that stood out to me was the way that they could sing, dance, and be terrifying. I felt like this was for me. After I was old enough to try out I was anxious, because I was going to go out for the Harrisburg Illumination show choir team. I was so excited for the results. I can still remember that good performance from my sister, and how I was always jealous and wanted to be up there dancing with her.

As I walked into tryouts my friend and I were very nervous. We heard the clicks to help us keep rhythm, and then we knew it was time to start. After that I messed up a couple of times but finally the music stopped. Virginia and I looked at each other with a confused look. Our teacher looked impressed, and she wrote something on the board and started mumbling. She wished us the best of luck before we walked out. Virginia exclaimed her hope that we’d get in, and then we went our separate ways. As I went out to look at the tryout list to see who made it, I saw my name in bold print on the sheet. I began to shake. I was so excited, and I went home and bragged about it to my family.

I had to adapt to going to show choir practice every morning. My first competition was scary. We had never been in a competition before and I didn’t really have any friends at that point. All I remember is people always tried to talk to me like they were my friends and I decided to open up and I made quite a few friends, some weird, some funny, and some quite silly. At our first competition we performed “We Can Dream”, “Shut Up and Dance with Me”, and “Light Up the World”. Before the competition I went to get a bite to eat, and then I put stage makeup on.

Finally, we went to our last practice before we got up on the stage! They had mirrors and it was kinda weird looking at myself dancing in the mirror. We had a struggle lining up because it was backwards! I freaked out at that moment and told everyone we were backwards, and we quickly fixed ourselves.

When I first went on stage I was very nervous! My dad and one of my sisters watched me, and I wasn’t expecting any of my other siblings to be there. We heard wild cheers and our school chant! I felt uplifted! I started performing, and looking at the audience and BOOM! I saw one of my sisters that I wasn’t expecting to see! I smiled at her and gave her a look, and she knew I saw her!

At the end I saw both of my sisters and my dad shoot up out of their seats and start cheering. I was so excited at the end! My dad and my sister left while I was getting ready to take off my stage costume and makeup.

Sadly, I showed up for my last practice this morning. It’s crazy thinking that I’m going to lose a lot of friends because they’re moving, but they always have some place in my heart. If it weren’t for my sister, I would have never met them.

I learned to follow my dreams and to set goals for my future, and that these goals will pay off. Put good examples in your life to hold you accountable for your own goals. Therefore, to be American means to have freedom and to make friends and family.

© Carson Fisher. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team and we can put you in touch with the author’s teacher.