Ashley Cummins is on the senior team at Karen's Dance Academy. This is her last year with the dance group.
"It's really kind of sad for me because I've been dancing at the studio since I could walk and it's kind of like I'm leaving the nest and I'm leaving all my babies behind but I think it'll be good because it's set me up for a lot of good opportunities in the future," senior dancer, Ashley Cummins said.
But after their recent competition, she's leaving with her head held high.
"It made me really proud of my team and it was a lot of fun because we got to tell everybody how hard we worked and our hard work paid off," Cummins said.
The academy competed in the Tremaine Regional Convention and Competition in St. Louis last month. The team performed seven dance numbers against hundreds of dancers from all over the country - and received first or second place awards in every one. The dancers also got the Shining Star Award for best backstage etiquette, overall teamwork and sportsmanship.
"This one really meant so much to us because it showed who we really were when no one's looking," Karen's Dance Academy owner, Karen Frantz. "It's that award for how well they work as a team and how they treat other people. I couldn't be more proud because I always feel like they're my children, so I'm a proud mama when I got to competition for sure."
One academy student, David Jameson, also received a dance scholarship at the convention. It will pay for his competition expenses for a year.
"It was cool because it was like, 'Yes! My work paid off,'" Jameson said.
But competition is about more than awards and trophies.
"It's what they bring back with them," Frantz said. "It's the memories, they way that they learned, 'Wow, we did that together.'"
That's exactly what Cummins is taking away from her last year with the academy.