Before becoming a tap instructor, coach and interpreter at Helix Charter High School, Ms. Julie Foleno came down all the way from Chicago, Illinois to be where she is today.
Foleno moved around various schools because of her job of an interpreter and has settled at Helix since coming to California in 2008
Starting Aspire Tap was something unexpected. It began developing when Helix teacher, Mrs. Leighton, mentioned that she wanted to learn how to tap dance. Foleno replied to her that she tap danced professionally in Chicago and would be more than happy to teach her.
Foleno commented that she “started a staff class, then started an Aspire program and [she] didn’t even know what Aspire was.” It was for the passion and love of tap and the fact that it catches the attention of many people.
She mentioned that she was a self-taught tap dancer and loves that she was able to open up Aspire Tap to anyone at Helix. Now many students can start off from no knowledge to some knowledge about tap and still walk out of Foleno’s class gaining more knowledge than what they had before, or can still grow from where they were before, because there is always more room for growth and tap can provide that.
Aspire Tap has gone from performing Helix Homecoming halftime shows to at least more than 20 performances in and out of school.
Foleno has been an instructor for Aspire Tap for three and going onto four years. She loves working with over hundreds of students as well as creating a bond with many.
Helix Charter senior and student of Foleno’s for two years, Samantha Gossens, would describe her as an “encouraging, dedicated and positive person all around.”
When asked about Foleno, Gossens was quick to say that she admires the qualities Foleno has in the way that “she cares about other people” and how she will “always be honest and will want people to always do their best.”
Another Helix student sophomore, Alisa Preciado, also commented that she “likes how she is very encouraging… and will always push her students to their best and full potential”.
When Foleno was asked on how tap has impacted her personally she had so many positive things to say all at once that she lost her words.
Foleno without hesitation said, “tap dance of all things has definitely become popular here at Helix and I’m glad that so many people are willing to join.”