That’s the sentiment from the grieving mother of Kaiti Perras. Shannon Miller was so moved a scholarship she and other family members created in her daughter’s memory is doing everything they intended it to do.
The 23-year-old lost her life in April 2014. Perras, along with Josh Hunter, Zackariah Rathwell, Lawrence Hong and Jordan Segura, were murdered at an end-of-the-year university party.
In honour of Perras, an accomplished dancer, a scholarship fund was created. The purpose of the fund is to introduce students to the beauty of dance in Calgary schools.
“It was more about honouring Kaiti,” Miller said.
“Before she died, that’s what she wanted to do… teach and bring the love of dance to students who never considered it or never had the opportunity.”
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This year the grant, the Kaiti Perras Love of Dance Memorial Fund, helped fund the East Side Dance Festival. It’s an event created for potentially at-risk youth to provide dance opportunities for underprivileged students.
Jasmine Lynk, 18, is grateful for a chance to perform in a way she couldn’t afford. She is touched by the Perras family’s gift to people like her.
“It drives the passion more. We have to keep in mind this person didn’t get to finish the destination and go where she wanted to and her family never got to see that so I feel like them giving the grant to us is us carrying on her passion,” Lynk said.
The dance teacher at James Fowler High School, Jaclyn Kennedy, knows how financial barriers can limit students to dance.
“The magnitude of this festival and the professionalism here, that costs money and the fact the family has chosen us to be recipient of this amazing gift, we are so honored and so excited to show what we have,” Kennedy said.
After her final year in high school, Cindy Ho is going into the same dance program at the University of Calgary that Kaiti Perras was enrolled in.
“I love dancing and it’s my dream and Kaiti could have continued and she couldn’t,” Ho said through tears. “It’s just a dream she couldn’t follow so to be in her steps and myself in her shoes, it’s kind of hard.”
Students will be performing at the Decidedly Jazz Danceworks the evenings of May 16 and May 17 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $11 and are available at the door and can be purchased through Brown Paper Tickets.
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