Hip Hop High

Reporter - Cassie Silver

Every parent worries that their kids may fall off the track during their troubled teenage years and that's exactly what happened to Ryan Bell. But the 16 year old who was once nearly lost in the system has now found his way

Mother Sarah-Jane had reached the end of her rope.

"First term he had only attended three weeks so it was sort of like where have you been" she explains.

He has been spending his days dancing on the streets.

Thornlie Senior High School Principal Paul Billing says Ryan's attendance rate was less than 30%.

"Our mission is to find ways to keep students in school and to help them be successful" Principal Billing says.

"Surely there's an opportunity for us in the school to say if he has to leave the school to pursue his passion is there a way to provide an opportunity in the school", Principal Billing l goes on to explain.

To keep Ryan in class... they had to motivate him through movement

"He could use our performing arts centre at lunch times and he would get the support of the dance teacher and he could bring a group of his friends to participate in that" Principal Billing says.

Despite Ryan's bad grades ... dance Co-Ordinator Lori McLindon could see Ryan's true potential

"A very raw talent, he was a very talented boy i don't think he was fully aware of his talent yet"

And Ryan wasn't the only one, together they formed a group called Art in Movement or AIM.....

But to keep their place ... there was one rule....

"Under the provision that he had a higher attendance rating than he already had" Lori explains.

Mum Sarah-Jane was on board saying " do dance.. the rule is you go to school... anymore texts from the school or calls from the principal there is no more dance I'm cutting it"

As Ryan's passion for dance grew.. so did his attendance at school

"The thing that i think makes the difference between a so so dancer and a good dancer is when you know they are living what they are doing" says Principal Billing.

Principle Billing was so impressed ... he added dance to the curriculum

"We've been able to build a course around a student who might have been lost to education"

Now, they've got a following, performing at community groups, assemblies even national competitions..

"Their attendance was up so they were allowed to and they were undefeated in every competition that they entered this year" Lori says.

"There's always a buzz of excitement when he and his group are dancing" Principal Billing says.

Now they're heading to Seattle, in the United States, to dance for WA in the International Cheerleading competition

"Japan, UK, more crews from the USA and we will be competing in the hip hop division" Ryan says.

He was once the bane of his teachers ... now he's helping to teach others

"i just like seeing the looks on their faces them saying Hi Ryan hi Ryan, a lot of little kids look up to me" Ryan says.

At Peppermint Dance studio in Kenwick, Ryan's a role model .. someone these little kids look up to

"Inspiring other little kids to dance and follow their dreams and their passion and make them love dancing" Ryan says.

His mum says, "i think to myself for kid who could have gone the other way and just gone off track.. if that school wasn't there for me and the school to work with him"

For a teenager who'd almost been given up on ... it just goes to show ... anything is possible ... so long as they have someone to believe in them

"I just want to just follow my dreams, keep going where I am going.. i think Im on a good path at the moment" says Ryan.

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YouTube link of one of their performances:

Art in Movement's Facebook page: