Starting Them Young With Daler Spirit

Riley Preiss, Editor

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Spirit Week is everyone’s favorite week! There is no question that the high school was ultra busy with Pep Rally and Homecoming and crazy outfits of themed spirit days consuming everyone’s minds.

What many at the high school don’t realize is that it is actually Spirit Week for all of the Elementary schools as well. The high school step team, Dalerettes, cheerleaders, and varsity football captains get invited every year to attend the elementary schools in the district’s “Spirit Day” assemblies. Dale the Lion, the school mascot, comes along too of course! Every year we alternate between elementary schools, attending two out of the four. It is especially fun to return to your own elementary school and see all of your old teachers. The teachers enjoy seeing their past students and their progression from the young dancers and cheerleaders they may have known when they were in their classes.

As a Dalerette, performing at the elementary schools has definitely been a highlight of my high school experience. It is an incredible feeling to know that all of the little kids looking up at you with awe want to be just like you one day. I didn’t realize the immense impact our performances have on the students until this year, however.  

The cheerleaders and Dalerettes met second period in the locker room to change into our uniforms and prepare for our routines. Within twenty minutes we boarded the buses and began the oh so excruciating (2 minute) ride to Woodward Parkway Elementary School. Walking through the halls, there is no way to describe how we all felt, except for really, really old. My teammates and I laughed at the tiny lockers and hallways we definitely don’t remember being so small. Practicing a run-through of the show in the school’s smaller gym, all of the teams support one another; there is cheering for the Steppin’ Dalers, clapping for the cheer stunts, and encouragement for  the Dalerettes. The seniors even attempted to teach each other a mass kickline (it may or may not have made an appearance in the Pep Rally Senior Dance).

The best part of the day was by far walking out to perform the show for the elementary students. We did two shows, one for the kindergarten to second graders and one for the third to fifth graders. The excitement they met us with was perhaps more enthusiastic than that of our actual Pep Rally… we couldn’t have had a more rewarding dress rehearsal! The kids clapped and cheered, and even sang along to the mix of songs we danced to. They particularly LOVED Dale the Lion and his crazy dance moves… who doesn’t?

At the end of each show the football captains spoke to the kids about the importance of teamwork, good grades, and school spirit. They then asked if anyone has any questions in the crowd. One fifth grader’s response truly shined a light on how important these types of events are. He said, “I just wanted to thank you for inspiring me.” The captains made a big deal about this response, giving him a hug and taking pictures with him. The rest of the school gave him a round of applause. It is moments like these where I realized how lucky we are to belong to a school district that has so much love for its teams and students. By going to the elementary schools we not only get to show them our hard work and practice the show before the big night, but we also get to make them excited about what is to come for them in their future as Dalers.  

 

* Photo courtesy of Lifetouch

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