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Growth Mindset: reading informational text; Michaela DePrince 4


Michaela DePrince

  1. Fourteen-year-old Michaela DePrince sat on the shiny hallway floor and tightened the ribbons on her ballet shoes. It was 2010 and she was about to dance for the chance of a lifetime—an opportunity to earn a scholarship to a famous ballet school. She was in the finals of the world’s largest ballet competition for young dancers—Youth America Grand Prix. But Michaela was worried. She was nursing an injury. Michaela understood that dancing on her injury could snap a tendon that could put an end to all of her hopes and dreams. Michaela was devoted to ballet. She had spent thousands of hours practicing. She had worked incredibly hard and had overcome many challenges to make it to this point, so when they called her on stage—she danced.
  1. Michaela danced so wonderfully that she was awarded a scholarship to attend the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at the American Ballet Theatre. That was only the beginning of her dancing success. When she was 17 Michaela danced with the Dance Theatre of Harlem professional company. Later, she joined the Dutch National Junior Company. Today, Michaela is a soloist with the Dutch National Ballet. She continues to stun audiences with her grace and beauty.
  2. Michaela’s life didn’t have a happy start. She was born in Sierra Leone, Africa, in 1995 during a civil war. Her birth name was Mabinty Bangura. Both of her parents died when she was very young. Mabinty was left to her uncle, but he didn’t want to care for her because she was born with a disease called vitiligo. Vitiligo causes patches of skin to lose pigment and become lighter. Often, vitiligo can look like white spots on people with dark skin. It isn’t a disease you can spread to someone else, but Mabinty’s uncle (along with many people in Sierra Leone) considered people with the disease cursed. He wanted nothing to do with Mabinty, so he brought her to an orphanage. Life at the orphanage wasn’t pleasant. There wasn’t enough food or clothes. The workers were unkind and treated Mabinty poorly because of her spotted skin.
  3. Fortunately, when she was four, Mabinty was adopted by an American family. They gave Mabinty a new name: Michaela DePrince. Michaela started dancing almost immediately. She worried about her spots, though. Would other girls make fun of her? Could she be a real ballerina if she had spots? In addition, Michaela encountered people who thought that African American girls couldn’t become ballerinas because their bodies were too athletic. It took years for Michaela to feel confident. Yet despite her challenges, Michaela continued to show grit and determination. She developed her mind and body through hard work and perseverance. She didn’t listen to the people who tried to squelch her dreams.
  4. Today Michaela is a huge success. She’s an inspiration to people around the world. Her advice to young people is, “Never be afraid to be a
    in a field of daffodils.”


Why is 2012 an important year in Michaela’s life?
Choose 1 answer: