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Belles Lieutenants for Upcoming Year Reflect on Challenging Tryouts

The next school year will have five senior lieutenants leading the Highland Belles.
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Photo courtesy of Highland Belles
The new Belles lieutenants, Brigitte Brown, Alexandra Wright, Cate Margolin, Katherine Ditchman and Mary Mathison pose for a group photo. Brown says that the tryout process was taxing, yet still a worthwhile experience. “The process of making lieutenant is very mentally and physically tough, but it is overall worth it in my opinion, because I have learned so much about myself and I have gotten to better know the other girls trying out,” Brown said.

Ponytails swish and uniforms sparkle as the Highland Belles take to the field. In the center are the five lieutenants stepping up to represent their team.

The start of the process to becoming the new lieutenants of the next year starts early, and requires a lot of preparation.

“The first thing you do is go to a workshop that all the lieutenants attend, and there you learn a lieutenant dance, which is one of the dances you perform,” junior and new lieutenant Katherine Ditchman said.

The requirements for trying out for the role include having to be on the team for a full football season and going to a mandatory meeting with your parents.

“As candidates, we were taught a jazz dance that the current lieutenants performed this year,” junior and new lieutenant Brigitte Brown said. “We then divided into groups and choreographed another jazz dance, which we later taught the team.”

This part of the process is before the second semester of the year, while the actual tryouts are at the beginning of January.

“Over Christmas break, we practiced consistently to prepare,” Brown said. “On the Wednesday we returned to school, we stayed after school and did a mock tryout with the groups of 3 or 4 that we would try out in. The next day we stayed after school and did the real tryout for the selected panel of judges.”

In the process of the actual tryouts there is a panel of judges that make the overall decision of who becomes the next year’s lieutenant.

“[The judges] are normally dance professionals in the DFW area that we either know as other directors or were directors in the area,” assistant director of the Highland Belles Emily Sanchez said. “We just choose the people that we trust the most to choose our leaders for us and that know about our program.”

The actual tryout consists of multiple different sections that allows each candidate to show off their skills.

“You do high kicks, then the lieutenant dance, new girl dance and strut,” Ditchman said. “After that, everyone can come watch that whole team and they’re cheering you on.”

The tryouts consider other factors besides simply dance, stressing the personality and the drive candidates must have to become a lieutenant.

“In between Miss High Kick, and lieutenant dance there is an interview and that morning is when [the team] votes on who they want,” Ditchman said.

The physical part of tryouts are only half of what a candidate goes through, there is also a large mental component to evaluate leadership and adaptability.

“The process of making lieutenant is very mentally and physically tough, but it is overall worth it in my opinion, because I have learned so much about myself and I have gotten to better know the other girls trying out,” Brown said.

The tryouts are not just about pursuing a goal, but it also gives more insight on who you are and how you act towards certain situations. At the end of the process, the team officially finds out who made lieutenant.

“After we finished trying out, the rest of the team were allowed into the gym. The candidates were then led into the gym and we do a Belle tradition called “the tapping” where the new lieutenants are chosen,” Brown said. “After finding out the five new lieutenants during the private tapping with the Belles, we were rushed with hugs and love by our team and everyone supporting us.”

This upcoming year is traditionally different from most others for lietenants because all are in the same grade.

“It’s five seniors which is new,” Ditchman said. “They rarely do this. It is the second time that this has ever happened, and it was just so exciting because we just love our class so much.”

The ceremony happens in the gymnasium and the current lieutenants will come up behind the soon to be lieutenants and hug them. The feeling of “being tapped” is a long standing tradition for the Highland Belles.

“I do not think I can describe how honored and happy I was at that moment,” Brown said. “I felt an admiration like no other as everyone who has pushed and supported me through this challenging process surrounded me with kind words and big hugs.”

Overall the new lieutenants are ready for what the next year will bring to them.

I was, and definitely still am, extremely excited to serve the Highland Belles with my fellow senior lieutenants next year. I am so proud of each and every Belle that tried out for lieutenant,” Brown said.

About the Contributor
August Lazzaro, Social media manager
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