Measures of Success: Sonya Lee

By Erin Hallissy

Sonya Lee, a 21-year-old senior majoring in communication and minoring in dance, already knows she wants to do after graduation – become a Lasallian Volunteer teaching performing arts to young people at a San Miguel school in Chicago.

Combining service and dance is a natural to Lee. She has volunteered at a number of places, including the Alameda Point Collaborative and a San Miguel school in New Jersey during Jan Term, and she performs with the Dance Company and Pulses, which combines step dance with hip hop.

“It’s a real big escape for me, from all my problems, all my stress, from class,” says Lee, who loves performing. “It would be great to teach kids to dance. It builds confidence.”

Lee and her four siblings were in a Denver housing project; her older sister Latrice ’06 was the first in the family to graduate from college. Lee, whose father died the year she was born, started working when she was 10, tutoring other fifth-graders, and developed a strong work ethic, inspired by her mother. She and her sister also got help and encouragement from mentor and “godmother” Theresa Kinealy, who urged them to go to college.

“I wouldn’t have gotten this far without the service of other people,” Lee says. “I’m so thankful for what I have. I think I owe everyone, I owe it to myself, to give back in my life. It’s not a choice for me.”

Looking back as a senior, she says “I’m really content with everything this place has given me – the Lasallian tradition, life lessons. The Brothers community has been awesome.” She predicts her dance friends will be with her for life: “I’m sure we’ll be in each other’s weddings. We’re like a big family.”