Since she was 4, performance has been at the center of North Hardin High School sophomore Emily Simmons-Lee’s life. Simmons-Lee has been dancing with Allegro Dance Theatre in Radcliff for about 11 years, appearing in productions such as “The Music Man Jr.” and “Lion King Jr.”

“It’s fun and I get to see the joy on other people’s faces when I perform,” she said. “I’ve gained a lot of friends and they’ve become my sisters and my brothers.”

At North Hardin, Simmons-Lee has applied her love for performance in her participation in the school’s color guard and choir programs. She said she has been involved with both programs since she started high school.

As an avid dancer, Sim­mons-Lee said her knowledge of choreography has helped her understand the principles required to excel in color guard. She said she enjoys participating in regional competitions and the camaraderie that goes along with the program.

“It’s something new and something I enjoy and I’ve made a family out of it,” she said. “It keeps me busy and entertained.”

An alto singer, Simmons-Lee will perform in the choir’s upcoming production of “Seussical the Musical.” The school’s production takes place this Thursday through Sunday at the Hardin County Schools Performing Arts Cen­ter in Elizabethtown.

North Hardin choir director Beth Root said it is a joy to watch Simmons-Lee to perform and she always gives it her all in her performances.

“Her whole presentation from facial expression to the rest of her body language is awesome,” she said. “She has a very bright future.”

Simmons-Lee also joined North Hardin’s JROTC program during the end of her freshman year

Outside of school, Sim­mons-Lee heavily is involved in New Hope Missionary Bap­tist Church in Radcliff, currently singing with the church choir. She said she has been singing with the choir for nearly her entire life.

“As soon as I could start talking, I guess that’s when I got brought into the choir,” she said.

Last year, Simmons-Lee served as president of the church’s youth ministry, coordinating group activities and outings.

“One thing I kind of gained was patience and learning how to communicate with them and not to argue as much as to listen,” she said of the role.

Last month, Simmons-Lee was the recipient of the 2019 NAACP Civil Rights Triumphant Teen Award during the local chapter’s annual Free­dom Fund Banquet.

“I was speechless when I got the call,” she said. “I started crying because I was just shocked. I try to keep a positive attitude with everything I do and try to help people.”

Looking toward her future after high school, Simmons-Lee said she hopes to either join the U.S. Navy or Air Force or study photography, math or psychology in college.

North Hardin algebra and geometry teacher Mary Richardson said Simmons-Lee’s is compassionate in all her endeavors.

“Emily is highly trustworthy and has a wonderful personality that spreads like wildfire,” she said. “Her presence lights up the room. Emily strives for success in all she does and is always willing to help others.”

Andrew Critchelow can be reached at 270-505-1746 or acritchelow@thenewsenterprise.com.