Biscayne Bay

South Florida Mother Keeps Daughter's Legacy Alive Through Dance

The Kelsie Karpiak Showcase 4 Scholarships is set to go on virtually Thursday night at 7:30pm.

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For Kelsie Karpiak, dancing was a way to bring people together. “She just loved life,” recalled her mother, Rosanna Karpiak, noting her daughter was not the star of the show, but found joy in performing with her friends. “Kelsie was such a delight to be around,” she said.

Kelsie grew up learning much of her craft from her mother: Rosanna taught dance for 35 years. Kelsie even became her mother’s student at Palmetto High School, and years later, the two would work for their own family dancing company, hosting dance camps for young artists.

“It really brought us together,” Rosanna said. “I look at it as such a blessing.”

A blessing of togetherness, before one night would suddenly separate their lives. On July 4, 2014, a boating crash on Biscayne Bay killed 24-year-old Kelsie and three others. In the painful years since her daughter’s passing, Rosanna has found a way to honor Kelsie’s memory, by following her daughter’s dream when she was alive.

“She said, ‘Mom, I wanna make sure that we have scholarships for these girls that can’t afford to come to dance camp.”

Rosanna made that wish her daughter’s legacy, organizing an annual dance showcase that now raises money for college scholarships for students.

“I hope that even though they may have never met her, that... they would know her,” said Rosanna. Not only know Kelsie, but know her desire to help others. And this year, in spite of the pandemic, Kelsie’s show will go on virtually.

“We feel like this connects us,” said Rosanna, noting the event helps students just like her daughter.

The Kelsie Karpiak Showcase 4 Scholarships is set to live-stream Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. and can be seen at this link.

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