Richy Mon: An Icon of Dedication

Carissa Bloom

Staff WriterIMG_1207

Let’s rewind to 2011. Senior Richy Mon began teaching himself to breakdance after being inspired by Michael Jackson. After watching some Youtube videos, the eighth-grader was ready to try out for the Northrop High School Dance Team (NDT) but had to miss out because of a soccer game. Little did he know how much his life would revolve around dance just four short years later.

“At first dancing was just a hobby, now it’s what keeps me going everyday,” Mon said. The two-time Dancer of the Year Recipient (sophomore and senior year), winner of the Mental Attitude Award, and current NDT team captain, has played a role in the Varsity Hip Hop Squad, winning State Runner-Up in 2014 and 2015, as well as first place at Nationals and the High Point Award this 2016 season.

Richy Mon holds Kate Laughlin

Richy Mon holds Kate Laughlin

Mon also performed a trio with junior Torion Pickett and Kordell Murphy this year that did not have great expectations. In fact, it was solely for entertainment. Surprisingly, the trio placed first at Nationals and received the WOW Choreography Award. The NDT was also granted the Grand Champion Award this year and invited to the U.S. finals although they will not be attending.

Mon is currently part of a competition team at Steppin’ Out Studio of Dance performing a duo and takes classes in jazz technique, acrobatics and ballet. He is also affiliated with the Fort Wayne Dance Collective, where he interns as well as practices modern and contemporary dance, ballet, hip hop and recently became a break dance instructor.

Dance is something Mon can always turn to with passion, as he loves creating dances because “…it’s cool that my ideas in my head can produce something in dance.” He also explains his passion for teaching by saying “it feels good to see other people are doing my dance but making it their own.”

Having so many awards, you may be surprised to hear that the only previous dance experience Richy Mon had before being part of the NDT was his self-taught breakdancing. Even more surprising is that his first time taking the stage was at the state competition freshman year when he was not even a part of the team. A JV Hip Hop dancer was injured and dance coach, Mrs. Helmuth, decided on Mon to fill the void just two weeks before the competition.

Another surprise about the senior dancer is his pole vault career which began as a joke. As a sophomore, Mon was on the varsity boys soccer team where Corey Shank, Northrop’s record-holder for pole vault, was the assistant coach. Mon joked that he could beat Shank’s 17’ state record, and thus his career began.

His sophomore year, Mon cleared 12’ and was named “Most Improved” on the team. IMG_1208Junior year he improved his previous best by a foot and a half to 13’6” which made him a state qualifier and regionals runner up. So far this season Mon has placed first at every outdoor meet and has been consistently vaulting 14’.  

Not only does the athlete excel in his sports, but in the classroom as well. Mon takes all dual credit or honors classes at Northrop and is a member of the National Honors Society. His dedication has impressed his teachers, such as Mr. Kerwin who taught Mon two years ago.

“He’s a great role model and leader; really willing to share his knowledge and experiences with others,” Kerwin said. Mrs. Hollenberg, his biology teacher, echoed Kerwin. “He’s a very conscientious student and wants to do well just like with his dancing,” she said.

Fast forward a couple years and you can expect to see Richy at IUPUI as a biology major, part of the IUPUI Track Club as a pole vaulter and teaching hip hop at various dance studios.

After he completes his education at IUPUI, Mon plans to attend medical school in Indianapolis to receive his doctorate and be one step closer to his main goal; being a pediatric oncologist.

“He has such a positive energy…you can tell by the way he carries himself and how he associates with students,” said Mr. Simmons. “He’s an example of our tradition of excellence.”

 

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