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June 30, 2005
Erin Noonan Ready to "Step" Forward
By Joe Kelly

Despite a neck operation young Erin is ready for the Irish Step Nationals in Nashville, Tennessee this coming week.

     Erin Noonan, 17, has been dancing for the Woods School of Irish Dance in South Boston for almost 15 years. Erin credits her teachers, Peggy Woods-Doherty and Roseann Woods-McKenna, for much of her success in Irish Step.  “It is because of this great school that I am where I am today with my Irish Step dancing” she says. 

     At the end of last year, Erin participated in the Regional competition in Cambridge placing 18th out of over sixty girls. This accomplishment qualified her for the Nationals, which will be held this weekend in Nashville, Tennessee.

     Erin is the daughter of Kathy and Paul Noonan and sister to Paul. The Noonan family will fly out on Friday for a weekend of competition and family vacation. Her brother, Paul, will head to college this fall and Erin sees’ this event as a perfect time for her family to spend time together as well. Erin will be competing against the top Irish Step dancers from around the country and world.

     However, the road to this year’s Nationals was not an easy one. Erin had a setback last February.  Erin had a spinal fusion operation on her neck. She then wore a neck brace for four months, trying to recuperate from that operation. While recovering from her neck surgery, Erin went back in the hospital because of a problem with her liver, which required more surgery.  She was unable to dance or practice for over four months.

     For the past few weeks, she has been practicing and doing all she can to get in shape and ready herself for the competition. “I am going to go out there and dance my best and hopefully I’ll do well” said Erin with confidence. “Qualifying for the Nationals was very exciting. I cannot wait to go and compete. Irish step is very demanding and you need to practice a lot,” stated Erin.

     Erin Noonan is also a great student. She will be a senior at Fontbonne Academy this fall. She has been an Honor Roll student since her freshman year at Fonbonne. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish Honor Society.  Erin’s favorite subject is Math, which she also tutors, and she teaches second grade CCD classes. This past year, Erin received the St. Michael’s College Book Award. She was voted Vice President of her senior class for the coming school year.

     When Erin returns from Nashville she is going to cut her hair and donate it to “Locks of Love”, an organization that provides hair pieces for financially disadvantaged children (18 and younger) who suffer from long-term medical hair loss.

     Erin’s favorite hobby, besides dancing and school, is babysitting. Erin loves kids. She enjoys watching her cousins, Jillian and Jackie Rooney, who look forward to her babysitting visits. Jillian, age 10, will also be competing in the Nationals in Nashville this week along with Erin, making it a family affair.

     All of us at South Boston Online wish Erin Noonan, Jillian Rooney and all of the local girls competing from Peggy Woods-Doherty and Roseann Woods- McKenna’s  “Woods School of Irish Dance” in the Nationals the very best of luck in Tennessee!

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Erin Noonan
Erin Noonan heads to the Irish Step Nationals this weekend.