This is the eighth of 20 profiles of The Gazette's Best and Brightest Class of 2017.

At first glance, ballet and engineering don't have that much in common, unless you think like Julia Gaubatz, who recognizes that each has a specific skill set that can help people achieve great things.

Three years ago, through Community Partnership for Child Development, Gaubatz founded a program, Developing Artistic and New Cultural Experiences (DANCE), to teach ballet to underprivileged children.

"I did ballet for 12 years," she said. "I still wanted to use it and I wanted a way to give back to the community."

Since founding DANCE, Gaubatz has worked with 75 children between the ages of three and five. She did more than teach them about arabesque and plies, Gaubatz also sought donations for the program, including funds, shoes, leotards and bags. She sewed dance skirts to save money and ensure the dancers had costumes for their performances.

Charlotte Nal, volunteer coordinator for CPCD, wrote, "Julia came to CPCD with a dream to share her love of dance with children who may not have had the opportunity to find their passion for dance."

She added that Gaubatz was well-prepared, having selected activities, music and identified the needs for each class.

"It was important for me to use the skills I have," Gaubatz explained. "I was sharing something unique - ballet - with children who don't have many opportunities."

This year, two other high school students helped Gaubatz teach the classes. They will continue the program after she graduates.

This fall, Gaubatz will pursue an engineering degree. She has participated in numerous science, math and engineering competitions and programs in her high school career, including being named Outstanding Principles of Engineering Student in 2015.

Gaubatz said she doesn't see the jump to engineering as anything major. "I'll be taking the skills I learn in engineering to do the same thing, something unique," she said. "It may not be really obvious, but ballet, the arts, and engineering are about doing something unique."

In her Best and Brightest essay, Gaubatz wrote, "I endeavor every day to be more than my title - more than a dance, more than a volunteer, more than an engineer - and I feel the most successful when I inspire others to do the same."

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