Tuesday evening “The Rock” — Clovis High School’s main gym — not only rocked but also sparkled with teams of dancers from our secondary schools. It was “A Night of Spectacular Dance,” and spectacular it was.
The evening began with spectacular, award-winning solo performances by Marshall Kitten Sparklettes’ Jayla Mendoza (Marshall Middle School) and CHS Freshman Academy Wildcadette’s Joelle Strickland. The next spectacular performances were by the officers from school teams: Yucca Middle School, Marshall Middle School, and CHS Freshman Academy. These were followed by spectacular performances by all teams, representing a variety of categories, including military, pom, novelty, and hip hop styles.
That may sound like a lot of “spectaculars,” but it is the perfect descriptive. These young people not only sparkled in terms of uniforms and accessories, but in facial expressions and presentation. The precision of their every move suggested great dedication in their training routines. In fact, I learned that most dance team training begins at 6:30 a.m., in addition to after school hours and weekends. And this does not include additional practices scheduled prior to competitions. Not only do these teens comply with this rigorous schedule but also, many are involved in multiple school-related activities and are good students as well, exceeding the minimum grade point average required to participate.
These same young people recently competed in the Santa Fe Dance Classic, proudly representing their respective school teams, and received numerous awards in many categories. In this world in which we are too often confronted with negative aspects of youth, such a group of students is utterly refreshing.
The achievements and honors won belong to the students, of course, but you can bet there is some exceptional leadership lurking in the background. The coaches who provide the leadership component are mostly classroom teachers who also spend an inordinate amount of time and effort instilling the standards that motivate these teens during their frequent practices.
Heading up the CHS Wildcadettes is Coach Kym Cordova (language arts teacher) and Sharon Dorman; the CHS Freshman Academy coach is Leslie Chavez (language arts teacher). Leslie Scroggins and Emily Cordell coach the Yucca Middle School Chap Dancers and the Marshall Middle School Kitten Sparklettes teams, respectively.
The Santa Fe Dance Classic is only one of many competitions in which these dancers have competed. They have traveled to various locations in the country, bringing home additional honors.
Although perhaps difficult to measure, the contribution involvement of students in structured activities outside the classroom is undisputed. Teens learn discipline, perseverance, collaboration and teamwork; the rewards of effort put forth to achieve goals and objectives. How can these lessons learned not enhance academic performance?
Mari Montessori noted, “The greatest sign of success for a teacher ... is to be able to say. ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.’”
Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the instructional technology coordinator for the Clovis Municipal Schools and can be reached at