By Leah Schmalz
Conor Quinlivan, left, hugs his mother at the Trish Quinlivan at the World Irish Dance Championship qualifying event.
Conor Quinlivan, a senior at Butler High School, is a successful Irish dancer and novice hockey player. While the two activities may seem quite different, they’re both reflections of his family and heritage.
Quinlivan began learning Irish dance at the age of four. His mother, who was born in Ireland, got him involved. Throughout his 13 years of dancing, Quinlivan has taken part in state and international competitions. While he was overseas to compete in the World Irish Dance Championships, he was able to stay with aunt and explore Ireland, including the town where his mother was born. “I got to see all of my family,” he said. “We went to different towns and ventured all around.”
December was a busy month for Quinlivan. In addition to placing eighth in the qualifying event for the World Irish Dance Championship, he also started playing ice hockey. While Quinlivan’s father is also Irish, he was born in New York. As a result, both of them are fans of the New York Rangers NHL team. Quinlivan’s love for hockey prompted him to learn the sport, and he enjoys playing.
In the fall, Quinlivan plans to attend Central Piedmont Community College. While he will continue dancing and playing hockey, he wants to major in special education. He’s worked at Camp SOAR at the Levine Jewish Community Center and enjoys it. “My sister has been involved with special needs. She brought me to one of the special needs camps and I was hooked,” he said.
Quinlivan had the chance to attend a different high school, but looking back he wouldn’t change a thing. “I’m glad I ended up staying at Butler because the faculty and staff were amazing to me,” he said. “I had a great time.”