Desert Vista High School Class of 2020 Bella Gregg and Avery Lewis

Desert Vista High School Class of 2020 graduates Bella Gregg, left, and Avery Lewis are heading to the University of Nebraska, where they will also be part of the Husker Scarlet Dance Team.

Talk about following in mom’s footsteps.

Newly minted Desert Vista High School alumna Avery Lewis is heading to the University of Nebraska, the alma mater of Ahwatukee Studio 111 owner and Ahwatukee Nutcracker producer Kimberly Lewis. Avery’s best friend and classmate Bella Gregg is going there as well.

And to the surprise of no one, both Thunder grads have already qualified to be on the Husker Scarlet Dance team, which performs for 90,000-plus fans of the football team.

Although the status of college football this year is up in the air because of concerns over COVID-19, both Avery and Bella are said they’re thrilled to be attending the same university where both Lewis and her son Alex graduated from.

Alex was a starting left tackle for the Huskers and later was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens, where he was a starter for three years before being traded last year to the New York Jets.

Kimberly Lewis, who was a Husker dancer when she attended Nebraska, has seen several other longtime Studio 111 students auditioning or already accepted on other universities’ dance teams. Lewis herself started the Phoenix Suns dance team more than 30 years ago – a group that now counts Bella’s sister Olivia Gregg as a member.

 Bella said she fell in love with the University of Nebraska when she visited it at age 14. Though she’s still undecided on a major, she said she likely will pick something in the health field.

And while Bella conceded the last quarter of her senior year was a struggle amid school closures and cancellation of signature events like prom and an actual commencement exercise, “I am more focused on my future and have learned to appreciate the times I did have in my final year of high school.

“I think in 10 years I will be able to look back and realize that although it ended very abruptly, I still had an extremely successful and fun last year of school,” she said “I was able to experience my whole football season dancing on the sidelines, win 2 state championship titles with my school, and maintain good grades, so overall I think I will look back and be proud and very grateful for the times I had as a senior.”

Avery got to know the University of Nebraska while attending some of her brother’s games and was captivated by “the awesome energy and spirit the school had to offer.”

She said she likely will major in broadcast journalism at the university, which already has announced its intention to hold fall classes on campus.

She, too, felt the pain of losing out on events like prom and a formal commencement as a result of this year’s school closures, but is excited about the fact “I have been able to learn new things thought like cooking and playing piano.”

“I think looking back in 10 years I will still feel like we should have gotten a proper way to wrap up our senior year of high school and get to say goodbye to people I might not see again but I think I will still be thankful to get to experience some things like our last football game,” Avery added.

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