• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Lindsey Carroll to represent Kentucky at DYW nationals


Woodford County High School senior Lindsey Carroll celebrated her 18th birthday on Saturday, Jan. 16 – the night she was named Distinguished Young Woman of Kentucky. “It was a good birthday present,” said Lindsey. With her many positive experiences as a participant in the 2016 state program now behind her, Lindsey says she’s very excited about representing Kentucky and her community at the DYW of America National Finals in Mobile, Ala., on June 23 to 25. “It was just so much gratefulness,” said Lindsey of being named Distinguished Young Woman of Kentucky. “Just because that week (leading up to the DYW program), I really realized how much support I had in the community and (from) all my friends.”

Lindsey said she’s also grateful for all the help she received from Woodford County’s DYW committee to prepare for the state program, which was held on Jan. 15 and 16 at the Singletary Center for the Arts in Lexington.

Donna and Tim Carroll were very proud of their daughter for being selected to represent Woodford County in the Distinguished Young Women of Kentucky program. “We had no expectation of a win,” said Donna Carroll. “We were hopeful for her doing well, but we’re just very, very honored and excited.”

Lindsey was one of 33 participants – representing counties all across the state – in the Distinguished Young Women of Kentucky program.

“I have 32 new best friends from that competition,” Lindsey said. “It’s really cool meeting girls from all over Kentucky. And it was weird how many connections some girls already had – just from either living in counties near each other or from going to GSP (the Governor’s Scholars Program) together. So a lot of the girls already knew each other… They were just so amazing.”

Lindsey says she chose a tap dance routine for her talent at the DYW of Kentucky program because she wanted to grab the attention of her audience with an energetic, in-your-face performance.

Reflecting on her DYW experiences, she knows the strengths that got her to nationals – onstage interview, scholastic achievement, fitness and talent – will also help prepare her for life. She’s already earned thousands of dollars in cash scholarships at the local and state programs to continue her education after graduating from WCHS in the spring.

Lindsey wants to earn a degree in dance performance before going to New York City and pursuing her dream of becoming a Radio City Rockette and an ensemble dancer on Broadway.

“She has a gift. She has a natural ability. She’s versatile,” said Lindsey’s dance teacher, Megan (Schenck) Dragoo.

“Some kids that … come to the (Jane’s School of Dance) studio, they’ll be real strong in one genre. They’ll be really good at tap. Or they’ll lean toward ballet and they struggle in tap.

“Lindsey, she’s strong in every type of dance. Whatever you give her, any style.” Knowing Dragoo also grew up in Versailles, and became a Radio City Rockette makes Donna Carroll confident that her daughter’s Broadway dreams can come true.

“When I was younger,” said Lindsey, “I had a really big (inner) debate – medicine or dance. Because I didn’t see how there’s any way to do both.

“But I think after … talking to my college counselor, I think it’s very possible. It’s not one or the other. I don’t think I’d feel complete not trying for both of them. So as much as it’s in my power, I’m going to try to make them both happen.”

So Lindsey eventually plans to pursue a career in medicine, but first she wants to take “this dance bug … as far as it’ll take her,” said Carroll.

Two other students at Jane’s School of Dance, who also represented Woodford County in the Distinguished Young Women of Kentucky (formerly known as Junior Miss) program, advanced to nationals.

Ellen Ward represented Woodford County and Kentucky at the DYW of America program in 2013. Taylor Phillips was America’s Junior Miss in 2006.

The work ethic, confidence and discipline they needed to reach those heights were nurtured in a tiny, family-owned dance studio in downtown Versailles.

“Dance just keeps you grounded,” said Dragoo, who danced under the tutelage of her mom, Jane Schenck, before she became a Rockette. “And it’s humbling because there’s so many good dancers, there’s so many good performers … It keeps you real. It keeps you humble because there’s always someone that’s going to be better than you.” Lindsey took her first dance class when she was 3 years old, but didn’t like being separated from her mom. So she tried soccer and other recreational activities before returning to dance when she was 6. “And never look back from then on. She loved it,” said Carroll.

Dragoo remembers watching Lindsey during those early years and thinking to herself, “Wow, she’s going to be really good.”

Lindsey was already showing a potential that would help her become the 2016 Distinguished Young Woman of Kentucky.

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