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Everett Dance Academy to Honor Malden's Julia Vanella on MLK Day

Everett-based On Pointe Dance Academy will be honoring former member Julia Vanella, a Malden High School student killed in a two-vehicle collision in New Hampshire in January, by releasing balloons with messages on them on Martin Luther King Day.

Julia Vanella of Malden. Credit: On Pointe Dance Academy Facebook page
Julia Vanella of Malden. Credit: On Pointe Dance Academy Facebook page
Everett-based On Pointe Dance Academy will be honoring former member Julia Vanella, a 16-year-old Malden High School student killed in a two-vehicle accident in New Hampshire in January, by releasing balloons with heartfelt messages on them on Martin Luther King Day.

On Monday, Jan. 20, Vanella's fellow dancers at the academy will be releasing about 50 black and teal balloons with messages written on them, according to Jessica Gantz, whose daughter is a dancer at the studio located at 11 Victoria St., Everett.

"There (are) approximately 50 girls on the whole OPDA competition team," Gantz said. "Eleven will be black because she was on the black team and there is 11 girls on that team. Black and teal are the colors of OPDA."

Icy roads may have played a factor in the crash that killed Vanella and left her mother and sister injured around 10 a.m. Jan. 11 on Route 16 in Wakefield, N.H. Three other people in the other vehicle involved in the accident were also seriously injured.

In the time that she knew Vanella, Gantz praised the teen for her outgoing personality.

"I have only known Julia and her family for a year and a half," she said. "...My daughter dances with both Julia and Jenna (Julia's sister). I can tell you since I have met Julia she is that young woman who parents dream their child to be. Always smiling, laughing, beautiful, never a negative thing to say. She was an amazing person inside and out."

The academy's balloon release won't be the first tribute paid to Vanella, as friends have held vigils, created a makeshift memorial at the footstep of Malden High and also gathered outside the school for the junior's funeral procession on Thursday.

Followers of On Pointe's Facebook page have also expressed their condolences after learning of Vanella's passing (click "Comments" link in embedded Facebook post above).

What will you remember most about Malden's Julia Vanella? Let us know by posting a comment in the comments section below.
Joe V January 19, 2014 at 11:17 PM
Friends, I don't have enough words to say how much I appreciate the support my family and I have received through these last few days. Thank You Very Much! May God Bless Julia. Love Daddy
Frank Mulligan January 20, 2014 at 07:04 PM
Today in LIFE we don't realize how lucky we are until something happens to a LOVE one. Even if you don't know that person. That's why, I take LIFE one day at TIME.

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