Letting Mike Dance
When Michael [Mike] Dickey (‘18) first walked through the doors of Packer, he had dreams and aspirations of being a professional basketball player. Today, he has realized that he truly wants to become a professional dancer and has shaped himself as a role model in the school’s community to this day.
As a freshman, Mike never imagined he would become the person he is today in the Packer community. Coming from a private school in Harlem that was 99% African-American, Packer was a huge transition for him. Not knowing what he was getting himself into, he looked to the dean of his grade, Rashad Randolph, as a mentor.
“Sr. Randolph took me under his wing and really helped me adapt to the community,” said Mike. “He guided me along through the ins and outs of Packer, and guided me along the right path to success.”
Before coming to Packer, Mike had many different passions, but did not have the opportunity to pursue them due to the lack of programs at his old school. He was mainly fascinated with dancing and basketball. He started dancing when he was three and playing basketball when he was four, but due to the limited programs offered by his middle school, his only option was to dedicate most of his time to basketball.
At Packer he realized that there were an extensive amount of courses that would help him pursue basketball and dancing, as well as his many other interests. Although he did not participate in many activities as a freshman, he remembers the past few years and has come to realize how Packer has helped him become who really wants to be.
“Some people’s only goals are to make the NBA, and that was me,” Mike comically said. “But now, Packer has helped me find myself as a person and a dancer, and is helping me to aspire to become the professional dancer I want to be.”
Mike has struggled balancing these two passions. When asked about how conflicting the two activities can be, he laughed and said “there are too many to mention.” He managed to mention his main concern: how the basketball season overlaps with dance concert.
“It’s been tough because I can’t fully participate in dance concert since I play basketball, and because of dance concert I’m forced to miss one or two games of the season,” Mike explained with frustration on his face. “Sometimes I am forced to make hard decisions as to what I want to do over the other, and since it’s not a perfect world I know I can’t do both at the same time.”
Inspired to share his passions with his friends, he created an instagram account to showcase his dancing abilities. He named the account @letmikedance and his first post immediately caught the attention of the students and it became more than just a dance account to him.
“It’s defined who I am, and the most common thing I hear nowadays is ‘Let Mike dance!’” Mike explained with a smile on his face. “They care about what I love doing, and they push me towards that goal of becoming a great dancer, and they show their love and support by liking and following my stuff that I post.”
Along with dancing and being the varsity basketball captain, Mike is currently a Peer Support Leader, Student Council Member, and a member of the Student Diversity Leadership Council. Looking back, he never thought as a freshman that he would be in the positions he is involved with today. Toward the end of the interview, he asked to give a major piece of advice to the freshman.
“Let the options display themselves for you. You’re not always going to know what you want to do right when you arrive. When you first start high school you don’t know what to expect and what’s in store for you, and as you go along the ride of high school you notice what’s there for you and what isn’t. You have to pick the certain ones that match you and will help you do what you want to do in life.”