The Student Newspaper of Cathedral Catholic High School

Dons Press

The Student Newspaper of Cathedral Catholic High School

Dons Press

The Student Newspaper of Cathedral Catholic High School

Dons Press

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Championing Growth: The Coaching Odyssey of KC Hellenkamp

KC Constantino-Hellenkamp

KC Constantino-Hellenkamp, beloved Junior Varsity dance team coach at CCHS, has crafted an inevitable impact on the local San Diego dance community throughout her twenty-two-year teaching tenure in Southern California. She has served as a coach for various teams at CCHS including the comp team, JV team, and Varsity team, and has instructed at the esteemed studio of the year Danceology Performing Arts Campus, and the empower ME network. This past year, she has courageously ventured into collegiate coaching at the University of San Diego dance team, marking a notable transition in her multifaceted career. Beyond her role as a dance educator, she is also a fearless mother of four daughters. It has been a year of growth and transformation for Hellenkamp as she has embraced new horizons as an educator, mother, and individual. 

Hellenkamp’s heart for coaching is overflowing. Hellenkamp expresses, “Being a coach is like sculpting more than just victories; it’s about shaping resilient individuals…The trophies become a snapshot in time, but the real triumph lies in the lasting impact on their journey and personal growth.” Witnessing athletes grow and thrive in their own identity has been the essence of Hellenkamp’s abiding teaching vocation.  

Embodying fundamental values of “respect” and “appreciation,” Hellenkamp’s coaching philosophy centers on a “reap what you sow” mentality. She elaborates, “The key to supporting my athletes is making myself readily available. It’s about creating an open and supportive space where they know they can count on me.” Her dedication to availability underscores her core value of fostering environments where athletes feel empowered to seek guidance and assistance.

Stepping into unfamiliar territory is invariably daunting and challenging; however, Hellenkamp eloquently describes the transition into the collegiate dance team domain as an “incredible journey.” Furthermore, she adds, “Collegiate dancers bring a unique sense of appreciation and work ethic to the table. They’re poised for new adventures, embodying a strong sense of self-responsibility that makes coaching them very rewarding.” Collegiate-level dance teams demand an elevated level of skill and dedication, where hard work becomes the cornerstone of success for these dancers. 

The USD dance team displays the grit required at the collegiate level of dance. Beyond their exceptional talent, Hellenkamp discloses, “The warmth and camaraderie from both the staff and students have made my first year of college coaching an absolute delight..and has added a new and exciting layer to my journey.” The sincere affection emanating from the team fuels Hellenkamp’s anticipation for the future as she feels “…very excited for the years to come.” 

Throughout the preceding season, one of Hellenkamp’s notable highlights with the team included the journey to the WCC tournament held in Las Vegas. “It wasn’t just about the basketball,” Hellenkamp reveals, “…it was an amazing blend of bonding with the girls, rallying behind our school, and cheering for both women’s and men’s basketball teams.” Amidst the games, the “truly special” reminiscences were “the moments shared with the graduating seniors, creating memories that I will forever treasure” Hellenkamp recollects. As she continues to craft environments for such cherished memories, Hellenkamp remains steadfast in her commitment to cultivating relationships that exceed the court. 

She harbors ambitious aspirations for the team’s future. “With many new opportunities on the horizon, I’m genuinely looking forward to steering the team through a year filled with excitement, growth, and success” she expresses. She eagerly awaits propelling the team into the “competition arena,” and she is enthused about the upcoming audition clinic and tryouts scheduled for April 28. 

Before stepping into her role as a coach, Hellenkamp wholeheartedly cares for her four daughters as a dedicated mother. She proudly states, “Being a mom to all four of my girls and coaching them through their dance journeys has been one of the biggest privileges of my life.” In her whirlwind of motherhood and mentorship, Hellenkamp finds herself reveling in the privilege of witnessing her girls blossom on and off the stage. 

Hellenkamp recently adjusted to significant changes as her daughter, Emma Hellenkamp, CCDT captain alumni, departed for college to join the Ohio State University dance team. Hellenkamp articulates, “I’ve been coaching Emma for her entire life so I definitely miss her everyday…yet I have so much respect for her current coaches and am beyond excited about the guidance they’ll provide as she embarks on this next phase of life.” As Emma prepares to represent Team USA in both Jazz and Pom categories at the ICU World Championships this Spring, it underscores the profound influence of supportive mentors like Hellenkamp.

Emma Hellenkamp cheering on the Buckeyes with The Ohio State University Dance Team.

As one daughter embarks on her journey beyond Cathedral, another joins the revered community of the Dons. Hellenkamp is “so excited” that her youngest daughter, Olivia Hellenkamp, prepares to enter Cathedral as a freshman in the upcoming fall term. Reflecting on Olivia’s enrollment and subsequent participation in the CCHS Dance Team, Hellenkamp describes the “surreal” emotions. She conveys, “I feel so grateful for the community that will be surrounding her.” 

As a testament to the exceptional sense of community at Cathedral, CCDT has cultivated a distinct presence on campus. Hellenkamp admires, “CCDT is more than just a team; it’s family. It’s hard to find a better word to capture the essence of what we have.” She further emphasizes, “It’s not just about the dance; it’s about the bonds, the shared moments, and the collective spirit that make this journey one of the most amazing chapters of my life.” This sense of unity and camaraderie enriches the lives of many members involved in the CCDT family. 

Hellenkamp’s remarkable journey as a beloved coach, dedicated mother, and passionate educator epitomizes the power of compassion and mentorship. She shapes tenacious individuals, fosters bonds that surpass the dance floor, and adopts new frontiers gracefully. As she embarks on exciting new chapters, from collegiate coaching to welcoming her youngest daughter into Cathedral, Hellenkamp continues to inspire all those around her with her infectious spirit. Her legacy transcends trophies, leaving lasting impacts on the hearts and lives of those she meets. As she continues to touch lives, let celebration be the anthem, echoing the legacy of KC Constantino-Hellenkamp, a true embodiment of strength, grace, and enduring love. 


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About the Contributor
Sofia Mah
Sofia Mah, Staffer
Hi! I’m Sofia Mah and my passion lies in human connection, dance, creativity, and nature. Journalism is my outlet for amplifying the voices of marginalized individuals and communities, forging profound connections with people to tell their stories authentically. Through my writing and passions, I aim to create a more empathetic world where diverse voices are heard.

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