Southsider Voice Correspondent
Today is “Rockey Red Day” throughout Franklin Township Schools in support of “So You Think You Can Dance” finalist and 2012 Franklin Central graduate Valerie Rockey, who will compete in the finals at 8 p.m. this evening Fox 59.
The winner will be named on the show Sept. 3 in Los Angeles; her parents, John and Debbie Rockey, will be in the audience.
Promoted by the school’s Students Against Drunk Drivers and student council, Rockey Red Day posters popped up at the high school last week and soon spread to other schools in the township. Faculty, staff, administrators and students may wear red Thursday by donating $1 to a charity to be named by Valerie.
“Every Wednesday has been so exciting; it has been hard to concentrate on school,” said Mr. Rockey, who teaches math at the high school.
Valerie, a graduate of Tippy Toes School of Dance, turned in another praiseworthy
performance Aug. 20 when dancing with Ricky Ubede in a Broadway dance and with All-Star tWitch Boss in a hip-hop arrangement.
After making it to the final four, she posted a message on Facebook: “I have yet to wrap my brain around the fact I’ve made it to the final 4, WOAAH!!!”
Reality struck her the following morning because the finalists could not take the day off as they had after previous shows.
Judge Christina Applegate coined “swagarocious” to describe Rockey’s abilities.
She began dancing in various contests as a 3-year-old. After one year at Indiana University she decided to go Los Angeles and study dance. Mr. Rockey drove her to California last August and left the car with her.
“She tried out (for the show) on a whim after being urged by two instructors from Tippy Toes,” Valerie’s father said. “It (audition) was the best decision she ever made.”
Valerie grabbed some red tap shoes and the rest is history. Her dance specialties have been tap, ballet and jazz.
The Rockeys were in California when Valerie danced with all the contestants to open the series’ 11th season. Valerie’s brothers, Tommy and Ben, have been to show.
Valerie, 20, already has attained her first goal of making it into the top 10, a group that will begin a 70-city tour one week after the final show.
“She had one of her best dance weeks last week,” Mr. Rockey said. “She made it to the final four so she has a shot.”
Win or lose, Valerie already is a winner because of tremendous national TV exposure. And the charity she designates from Rockey Red Day will be a winner, too.