My Lasting Legacy


Emi Nakata, Online Editor

“What do you want your legacy to be after you leave Prep?”

Mr. Chism asked me this question in January. At that moment it finally sank in that this is the year I am to graduate from Prep, leave the Nakata Nest, and say “see you later” to friends that will all be taking different paths than me. There’s nothing harder than saying goodbye to an amazing community that has been such a critical part of my life.

As an incoming freshmen, I wanted to experience all that Prep had to offer, whether that be the Pulse Dance Team, the Asian Pacific Islander Club, The Panther Newspaper staff, National Honors Society, Freshmen Volleyball, or a retreat leader. I had a “try anything and everything” mentality as I wanted to maximize my 4 years and not let any opportunities slip through my fingertips. The only thing I wanted more than this abundance of opportunities, however, was to create meaningful connections with people and to feel like I truly belonged at Prep.

With my ambitious spirit, I signed up for the Pulse Dance Intensive that took place two weeks before my first day as a Panther. Dance was a passion of mine, as I had danced competitively for 8 years, and I had done the Pulse dance camp as a middle schooler, so this intensive was right in my comfort zone. I admired the team’s loving and inclusive culture and their mission – gratitude, commitment, and unity – because it felt like family. Little did I know that those two weeks dancing with Pulse would set the foundation for my next four years.

I danced on Pulse throughout my freshmen year and that June auditioned to be a captain. I wanted to continue to foster this kind, supportive, and judgment free environment. I hoped to create a space where dancers of all levels could have fun, let go a little, and grow as people and artists.

Now it is my senior year, third year as a captain, and we have not only mastered our video productions, but have also introduced colored lighting at assemblies, added new performances for Halloween and Thanksgiving, and welcomed a ton of new members, all through a global pandemic. At assemblies and sporting events, it is clear that Pulse is a crowd favorite by how the audience chants, “Pulse… Pulse… Pulse”, as we enter.

While our performances are pretty incredible, I have to say that my favorite thing about Pulse is that once you’re a part of the family, you’re always a part of the family. Pulse alumni are unlike that of any other team. We always have past dancers coming back to watch our performances and even some that become assistant coaches. Pulse remains a part of each dancer even after they leave, whether they danced with us for one performance or every performance.

I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to see this team grow in size and in skill, and even now, during my final months at Prep, to be contacted by interested students asking how they can join. It just shows how important Pulse and the work that we do is to the Prep community. As I prepare to say “goodbye”, or more accurately, “see you soon”, to this one of a kind team, it is my only hope that I made a difference on Pulse because it will always have a special place in my heart.

To my friends who made me smile, the teachers who always pushed me to be my best, the Pulse Team who gave me an outlet to be myself and do what I love, and most importantly, my family, my #1 fans, who gave me unconditional love and support through it all:

Thank you for everything. I would not be where I am today without you.

With all that said, my answer to Mr. Chism’s question was that I wanted to make people feel like they belonged somewhere.

He told me: “You’ve exceeded your goal”.