KF: I’m Katie Flood, a senior in the Fashion program. I attended the Ada Merritt K-8 Portuguese program before DASH. Without much formal art training, I feel that winning a Scholastic art award for sculpture was truly the catalyst that brought me to DASH. My art teacher at Ada Merritt, Lourdes Fuller, encouraged me to apply for Scholastics and for DASH. I was awarded a Gold Key and American Visions nomination for my “Bird Nest Shoe” sculpture and got to travel to Carnegie Hall with the other winners.
DD: What stands out in your memory about becoming a DASH student?
KF: I was intimidated by the other students’ artwork, the amazing teachers, and the school’s high standards. I thought going to DASH would mean endless sleepless nights and grueling schoolwork. The reality turned out so different, as most seniors would agree. We’ve found if you love what you’re doing and strive to improve to the highest level, you work differently. You really listen in class and push yourself in new directions. You work hard but it really doesn’t feel like work because it’s your passion. I am proud and grateful to be a DASH student.
DD: DASH is one big diverse family. Tell us about the uniqueness of your own family.
KF: My family is pretty far flung, from cosmopolitan Miami all the way to the bayous of Louisiana and Arkansas. I have vacationed with them horseback riding through swamps, scuba diving in the Florida Keys, and hiking in Germany and Ireland. These experiences have opened my eyes to all kinds of people and perspectives from around the globe.
DD: What special challenges do you face at DASH and how do you manage them?
KF: Catching up with work I’ve missed while competing in Olympic level sailing regattas is my biggest challenge. Although art and sailing might seem incompatible, I’ve gotten good at scheduling my time so that I can do both and keep up my grades. With the intense pressure we put on ourselves at DASH, my sailing is a great outlet to release all that tension. When my boat leaves the beach, I am in a totally different environment and in total control of what happens – except for the wind! DASH is not a school for procrastinators. It’s crucial to communicate with teachers in advance so they don’t think you’re just goofing off. Being proactive is the key.
DD: What are your hidden talents, extraordinary accomplishments, big-dream ambitions, or upcoming adventures?
KF: Sailing. How weird is that for an art student?! Actually, it really isn’t. I’ve met many sailors who are artists. There’s something about going against the wind and analyzing how to achieve momentum. There is no giving up on a sailboat. You MUST guide the boat to go where you want by using only the wind. You’re entirely at the mercy of the elements. Life will trouble you like a rough sea troubles a captain, but the ones who pull through are the ones who can execute a new plan quickly and keep moving forward.
I began sailing at the age of six with Andrea Livingston. Now, at 17, I compete with Olympians and am a hopeful to go to the Rio Olympics in 2016. I have worked hard this year on learning to skipper the new Nacra 17 catamarans that will be used in Rio and, along with DASH alumni Sarah Newberry, I am one of very few female multihull skippers in the entire sport right now. Since the teams that compete must be mixed (female/male), I find myself in prime position. We’ll see what happens!