Stepping up the management


Photo by Grace McGuire

Story by Emily McMaster, copy editor

She is seen sitting in the football stadium alongside the Texas HighSteppers. A backpack filled with uniform pieces, medications and planners is with her at all times during the football games. Caring for each drill team member and assisting the director, Amber Reynolds, are two of her main priorities. The Texas HighSteppers have lacked a manager in past years, but currently London Edwards has proudly taken the position.

“I decided to try out for drill team manager last year because a friend on the team encouraged me to do so,” senior London Edwards said. “I figured it would be a fun activity for me to participate in during senior year.”

The need for a manager has become more relevant since Edwards got the position. Edwards stays the entire duration of practices to complete tasks which include costume inventories and fundraising sales. During performances, Edwards videos each dance and is ready to go in case of an emergency.

“As manager, I make sure that everyone is always taken care of. I organize the costume closet and I help out in any other way needed,” Edwards said. “If someone is not feeling well, I make sure to have the correct medications, or if someone forgets a piece of their uniform, I make sure I have an extra ready to go.”

Edwards has allowed Reynolds to spend more time working on dances. Instead of having to stay later to work on organizing the closet or copy papers for the team, she can now place that responsibility on Edwards, who completes any job with a smile.

“London has been a major help to me this year. She’s organized our costume closet, helped with attendance and distribution of items, as well as just being a joy to work with,” HighSteppers director Amber Reynolds said. “Her maturity and dedication to our program has been a true blessing.”

Upon taking the position, Edwards did not know what to expect since a previous manager was not available to prepare her for the job. She would soon become responsible for shaping the position and influencing the purpose of a drill team manager.

“I expected the job to be a lot of work, which it is, but I never expected to build the relationships I have,” Edwards said. “Even though I have participated in multiple other school organizations, I never really felt like I belonged somewhere until becoming a part of the drill team family. I feel like a mother to each one of the girls and I have found my purpose of helping and loving others.”

Each girl on drill team has connected to Edwards because of her commitment to the team and kind-hearted personality. Not only has she been there when others forgot a uniform piece, but she has also become a friend outside of practice.

“London is so sweet and, although she works for Mrs. Reynolds, I consider her more of a friend than just our manager,” freshman Evelyn Patterson said. “She is someone I feel like I can always go to talk about anything and she is always prepared for anything we need.”

I never really felt like I belonged somewhere until becoming a part of the drill team family.”

— Edwards

Although coming to every HighStepper event is mandatory for Edwards, each occasion creates a fun memory instead of a dreadful one. Just as team members create lasting memories through drill team with each other, Edwards has created and become a part of many special memories as well.

“My favorite memory thus far was line camp because that was the first time I was with the team as a whole and I got to know everyone,” Edwards said. “At first I felt like I would be an outcast and just stick to my work, but I was so welcomed and I automatically felt like I fit right in.”

Drill team tryouts for the 2018-2019 school year will be held Feb. 26 through March 2, 2018. Manager tryouts will be the same time and anyone can come tryout. More information will be released by Reynolds closer to the date.

“I’m looking for someone who is self-driven. Practice can get crazy and I’m not always able to have a list of ‘to do’ items, so I need someone that can take the initiative and already know what needs to be done; whether it’s taking attendance, making copies, or pulling costumes from our closet,” Reynolds said.  “They are required to attend all games and performances, as well as our competitions and help manage the stage during spring show. It truly is a year-round position.”

Despite the hard work put into being manager, the experience is well worth the sweat. The HighSteppers gratitude towards their manager is strong and much needed for the team.

“People should tryout for manager in the future because of the experience you gain,” Edwards said. “If you feel like you do not belong somewhere, the HighSteppers welcome you with open arms and make it easy for you to fit in. You will learn so much about yourself, how to communicate with people, and gain friendships and multiple work skills that are great for life.”