Time To Care: Dance teacher helps students succeed outside the studio

May 12, 2016/News 12 First At 5

NORTH AUGUSTA, SC (WRDW/WAGT) --- For more than a decade, she's been teaching rhythm and movement and so much more to local dance students. Our Time To Care winner for May is a woman who is determined to help her girls succeed no matter where life takes them.

It's another busy weeknight in the North Augusta school of dance. That's Rachel Griffin barking out orders.

Her girls come in different ages and sizes from schools all over the area and they've memorized her advice.

"Suck in your gut...count.. smile!
We ask if they need to do all that at once?
"Yeah," they all agree in unison.

The students here all have something in common. They love to dance and they love Ms. Rachel.

"I like that every time I come in here, it makes me feel better from whatever mood I'm in," said 18 year old dance student Rachel Harris. "She inspires me and helps me learn that even if I don't get it the first time- practice does make perfect."

Another student, 14 year old Haley Ives agrees.

"Ms. Rachel deserves this award because she brings out the best in all of us. Not just me- but the whole class," Haley said with a smile.

And Ms.Rachel loves them all right back.

"If they really put some heart and drive and focus into what they're doing and they give it an honest effort- it makes them successful. No matter what their body type is or where they go," she said.

She loves them like another mother.

"And I see a lot of them more than I see my own family," Rachel said. "So the relationship we have is open and honest and I try to instill in them will help them be better people, I hope."

No matter how good they are now, the truth is most of these girls will not end up dancing professionally. But Rachel says they'll all end up doing something.

"No matter what they end up being, I want them to have a passion and a love for whatever they do decide to be in life," she said.

And it may be something far from the security of her small studio in North Augusta.

"Whatever effort they make, wherever they go, somebody's always gonna watch. People will be looking and will notice a difference if they choose to make a difference in whatever they're doing," Rachel said.

Our Time To Care sponsors are Aiken Regional Medical Centers, Academy Sports and Outdoors and Great Deals On Furniture. If you would like to nominate someone for our monthly award, you can find a nomination form on this page.​