15-year-old killed in tragic accident honored at ballet

FORT THOMAS, KY (FOX19) - A Fort Thomas ballet dancer tragically killed when a tree fell on her, was honored at the Cincinnati Ballet's Nutcracker.

Even with Michelle Chalk's absence in this year's ballet she still had a moment to shine on stage Wednesday night.

The Cincinnati Ballet gave her a special tribute for her four years of hard work in the production of the Nutcracker. The 15-year-old was killed in a freak accident in August after a tree fell on her while she was sitting in a hammock.

Her parents said being a part of the Nutcracker is what she looked forward to each year.

"She loved it when auditions came out in August. We would have it circled on the calendar," said Keith Chalk, Michelle's father.

They loved watching her perform and grow on stage. Last year, she was the lead soldier in the Nutcracker.

"It was so fun to watch her in the Nutcracker. It's so fun to watch her on stage. It was probably my favorite thing to do," said Patty Chalk, Michelle's mother.

Coming to the theater Wednesday night watching the dancers glide across the stage wasn't as easy, but they knew they couldn't miss it.

"We're going to break down. We're going to cry but Nutcracker is so colorful the music is so upbeat. We hope we get swept away in the music and the performance," said Keith Chalk.

Michelle was their star on stage and off.

"She was talented and she worked hard, but I think what I will always remember about her is how kind she was. She was an old soul. She knew what was right and what was wrong and always tried to do what was right."

Although their emotions changed with the music scores from dark to cold to happy and sad. The Chalk's say attending the ballet is now more about the celebration of Michelle's life.

"It's important for us to remember Michelle. We want to honor her. She was so special not only to our family but to our community," said Keith Chalk.

To keep Michelle's memory alive the Chalk family has started a scholarship fund in her name, which will be given to a Highlands High School graduate in May.

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