"I had a sister, Naomi, who told my wife to get Christine over there. This is how she got started," said her father. "They put Christine on the right path."

Jenkins also took part in a dance ministry at Union Baptist Church in west Baltimore, one of the oldest African-American churches in the city.

She attended Hollifield Station Elementary School and Patapsco Middle School, also in Ellicott City, where, as an eighth grader, she saw a flier that advertised tryouts for the dance team at Mt. Hebron. Jenkins tried out and was the only freshman to make the Lancers drill team.

She was the team's captain as a senior and was also captain of the dance company at the school, taking part in national competitions. Jenkins also competed as a sprinter at Mt. Hebron, graduating in 2009.

Scott Ruehl, the principal at Mt. Hebron, said Jenkins was an energetic high school student.

"She was a great person, very outgoing. She was a tremendous kid," he said. "She was definitely a leader in our dance program."

On to college

Jenkins thought of attending Virginia Commonwealth University for its dance program, but did not feel good vibes when she visited the Richmond school. She had a full ride to Morgan State and also visited the University of Maryland in College Park.

"But when I went to visit I got lost," she said.

Jenkins also visited Spellman and Emory in Atlanta, Clemson in South Carolina and the University of Pittsburgh, where her younger brother, Herb, is now a freshman.

But she decided on Howard, in part because it was a historically black school.

"I always went to predominantly Caucasian schools. I wanted to know what it would be like at an all-black school," said Jenkins, a dean's list student with a grade-point average around 3.3.

The summer before her freshman year, she planned to major in dance at Howard. But then she was told that would leave her no time for any extracurricular activities. That did not go over well for the personable Jenkins. "I am a social butterfly," she says.

So she is now majoring in telecommunications management with a minor in economics, and is on track to graduate next spring. Jenkins was contacted by Starcom Media of Chicago at a job fair and plans to make a trip to their offices in March about possible employment after graduation.

But for now she has several busy months lined up. Besides being captain of the dance team Jenkins, who lives in a duplex near Howard, is taking 14 credits hours and works Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sundays at a restaurant in Chinatown.

On top of that, the Howard dance practices from 5:45 to about 8 p.m. each weekday in preparation for Saturday football games.

After football games are over on Saturday afternoons Jenkins is exhausted and usually takes a nap. She would be happy to stay at home Saturday evenings but normally succumbs to peer pressure and heads out with friends to parties.

"I like to have fun as well," she said.