“I started gymnastics when I was two. When I was ten I moved to Puerto Rico and the closest gymnastics academy was two-and-a-half hours away. My mother didn't want me to give up what I loved so we drove five hours there and back, every day. It was a good thing school wasn't difficult for me because I would have failed. I never had time to study. Anyway, it all paid off. By the time I was thirteen, I was the national gymnastics champion.
In tenth grade I got a pamphlet from Simon’s Rock. I threw it out. Gymnastics was my life and I wouldn’t give it up. But during my junior year I broke my ankles, wrists and neck. I thought, If I can't do gymnastics, I’m not going to be bored in high school.
I love a challenge. Simon's Rock is a challenge. I have to focus, try hard, and study. I miss gymnastics but I haven’t stopped being active. I started to dance again. I joined the swim team. I play volleyball and work out every day. That’s how I fill the gap. I have to. I'm not a static person. I have to keep moving.”
• The Midwife and Accusations of Witchcraft...
Where are they now? After two years at Simon’s Rock, Melissa transferred to Rutgers University, where she continued to pursue dance and gender studies.