SIDNEY – Sidney High School senior, Jesse Cortney, recently signed to commit to Midland University with a dance and cheer scholarship. His parents, brother, friends, fellow teammates, coaches and school all say Midland couldn't have chosen a better student athlete to welcome into its university.
Casey and Robert Cortney, Jesse's mom and dad, said they are "overly proud of Jesse and his accomplishments – this is a sad, bittersweet and tender moment for us and we couldn't be prouder of his journey."
Casey told the Sun-Telegraph, "Jesse always had a passion for dance – ever since he was young – his legs just never stopped."
Jesse's dad, Robert, echoed what his wife, Casey, stated, adding, "I think supporting Jesse in his dance was the most important job I had – but, seeing him do the thing he loves so much and is so good at was, and still is, the pay off for me as his father, because now we get to continue that journey into college and there's not a lot of fathers who can say that."
"I'm just beyond proud of him – I can't even put it into words of how proud I am and how excited I am – we all are – to continue his dance journey with him into college," Robert said.
However, it's Jesse's can-do attitude and drive in which his mother said is the most remarkable thing about her son.
"Jesse is also the first of two boys ever on the SHS (Sidney High School) dance team," Casey explained. "The two of them joined the dance team the same year, together, making them the first boys to be on the dance team."
Jesse's older brother, Braydon, who is currently already attending Midland University, told the Sun-Telegraph, "I am so proud of my brother for what he has accomplished and sticking with what he loves to do – and chasing his dreams since he was 5 years old."
"Every time I watched him dance – it put a smile on my face along with everyone else watching – I'm very proud of him and happy to see him at Midland," Braydon said.
Jesse will attend Midland University and get his degree in arts management, where he will also participate in singing.
Sidney Danz Coach Michelle Weimer told the Sun-Telegraph, "Jesse is a ray of light and shines on the dance floor."
Weimer expressed the coaching team, teammates and school is "sad that his time with Sidney is done – but so excited to watch him continue his dance career in college at Midland University."
Sidney Danz Coach Whitney Whatley said, "Jesse's passion for dance is unmatched.", adding, "He has some of the most beautiful jumps that a coach would dream of!"
Sidney Danz Coach Devany Turner said, "Jesse will do amazing at Midland University, he's always been the 'calmer of the storm' – we are beyond proud of him."
"This is a well deserved opportunity for Jesse – and we are so proud," Whatley stated.
Just a few short weeks ago, Jesse was sitting in his government class taking an elections test when school administrators pulled him out of class to let him know Midland University was interested in extending him a dance and cheer scholarship with little out-of-pocket costs.
"I danced – right there in the hall – I did a little dance in the hall and then went back to class," Jesse told the Sun-Telegraph. "I was so overjoyed, overwhelmed and excited. I really wanted this – to be able to go to a private university on scholarship is tremendously amazing and a dream come true."
Adding, "I feel really blessed to have this opportunity – and a month ago, I didn't have this, it really all came together better than I expected and better than I had hoped."
After school that day, Jesse said he went to his mother's office and then his father's office to tell them of the news he had received earlier that day.
"My dad was so excited for me – he sort of freaked out," Jesse said. "Then he told me how proud he was of me and that he was very happy it all worked out."
The family didn't have a huge celebratory event, instead, Jesse said they went to Dairy Queen and had ice cream together, "which was perfect – it was perfect ending to a perfect start of my future."
Jesse said he is most excited to see new faces, places and to try new things – but also, "I look forward to this new adventure in college, which means, making new friends."
"I am also really looking forward to growing my dance techniques and furthering myself to a whole new level," Jesse added.
The soon-to-be college freshman said he is excited to go to Midland because of the opportunities he knows are waiting.
"I want to thank all my coaches through the years, my parents, grandparents, brother and friends for always being there for me – for always supporting me – but mostly for always believing in me," Jesse said. "They never gave up on me, they pushed me and encouraged me every day."
Jesse wants to also thank all of the student body population, teachers and staff members at Sidney High School – as well as the Sidney community for also supporting his dance career through the years.