Shannon’s Irish Passion
By Caitlin Blum ’18
Shannon Zofkie '17 graduated last May with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She studied abroad in Ireland during her sophomore year and would have taken advantage of any opportunity to explore a culture that was already so prominent in her life.
Shannon began competing in Irish dancing at 4 years of age, and since then, her feet have never stopped moving. Growing up in Chicago, she made close connections with several Irish organizations that kick-started her interest in the culture, and furthered the idea of studying abroad. Her background as fiddle player helped her understand musical timing, in addition to her knowledge of traditional Irish music which helped her feel the passion.
In sixth grade, Shannon decided on attending Saint Mary’s because of the educational programs, social networks – and because there was an Irish Dance team. She shares,“I knew that I was not ready to retire from dancing. So, I joined the ND/SMC Irish Dance team. I was a four-year member of the team and Vice President my senior year. It was the team and my dance friends that supported me in continuing to compete”.
While at Saint Mary’s she mentioned that she as the only team member still competing. Although it was difficult to manage both dancing and school, as they both require a high level of discipline and dedication it made her well rounded. Saint Mary’s ballet helped her cross-train, going hand in hand with her dance schedule. Her Saint Mary’s teammates also provided her with tremendous support by attending her competitions.
Shannon’s experience in Ireland created global friendships which she will cherish forever. She will be heading back to Ireland this February to compete in the All-Ireland Championships in Killarney. She quoted,
“I’m most excited to be able to have the opportunity to compete against so many talented dancers from across the world. It will be my first time back in Ireland since I studied abroad in 2015 at Maynooth University. I can’t wait to get back to Ireland, meet up with my friends and catch up”.
Congratulations and best of luck to Shannon!! Go Belles!!