By RACHEL TUGGLE
STEPHENVILLE (April 8, 2015) — Rigorous officer tryouts are part of Stingerette tradition and this year is no exception.
Stings who wanted to become officer were first required to submit an “Officer Binder” containing several assignments, including costume designs and report cards. The girls are taught a group dance, which includes several different genres of dance, choreograph a solo, and choreograph part of a pom routine.
On March 19, the candidates perform their group dance and solos in front of the current Stingerettes who voted on who they do – and do not – want to be officers. The next day a closed tryout is held. The candidates perform their solo and group dances for the judges and teach the pom routine they choreographed to current Stings in front of the judges, who examine the candidates’ binders and interview them.
The results of this year’s tryouts are five officers for the 2015-2016 school year. Head officer is senior Shelby Sult. Returning officers are seniors Elizabeth Afeman and Allison Balder. New officers are juniors Cassidy Balder and Maurie Dodson.
Rachel Tuggle, Flash student-writer, sat down with the officers to talk about the process and what it means to be a Sting officer.
Question: For you, what is the hardest part of officer tryouts?
Shelby: For me, the hardest part is the stress and the anxiety. I was really nervous, especially this year, leading up to tryouts. The stress is my biggest obstacle.
Elizabeth: It’s just getting past all of the nerves and getting past the fact that I might make it or I might not make it.
Allison: Not the nerves. Actually, I was really nervous before it actually happened. But, during tryouts, everything is always fine and it’s fun. Besides that, I would say the team dance, because we have to work together as a team. I want to do my best so I don’t mess them up and, hopefully, they want to do their best so they don’t mess me up. The solos are easy because it’s just you; you don’t have to blend.
Maurie: Probably performing your solo in front of the judges. When you’re performing a solo at competition, it’s not as hard because you don’t know everybody. But, when you’re in front of the judges it’s like you are either going to do really good or really bad. The stress of that.
Cassidy: I guess it’s the time management. We learn a dance in two days and the kick portion before Spring Break. It’s finding the time to rehearse at home.
Q: What is the most important component of officer tryouts?
Shelby: I would say that it’s a tie between the interview and the team vote. The interview evaluates your responses to leadership questions and how well you manage under pressure, but the team vote shows how you’ve been doing all year and how the whole team thinks of you.
Elizabeth: I think the interview is the most important because you have to be a good leader and really love the team to be an officer. I mean, dancing is important, because you have to dance harder dances as an officer. But, if you aren’t a good leader, good dancing isn’t very useful.
Allison: I’m going to go with the team dance is the most important part just because, if you can’t work together with other people, that’s not good. You can’t lead a team if you can’t be part of a team.
Maurie: The group dance is most important because it shows how well you can dance with the other girls.
Cassidy: Equally important are the team dance and the teaching.
Q: Do you have any good luck charms or traditions?
Shelby: I have a lot. Rachel Bridges, who was my captain my freshman year, gave me a “pass-down” dress at banquet, which six officers before her wore for officer tryouts. I wore it last year and this year. My Secret Sting my freshman year gave me this pig that is like a doggie chew toy, and it’s become the “good luck” pig. I take it to all of the games and tryouts and everything. Every single tryout ever, except my eighth grade year, Autumn Adams [a former Stingerette] has done my hair and she does a great job.
Elizabeth: Not really, I get signed out to do my hair and makeup.
Allison: Freak out.
Maurie: Not really.
Cassidy: I just focus on the dance every day and go over it in my head.
Q: Why did you try out for officer?
Shelby: I tried out for officer because I love being in leadership positions, and I feel that I can do a lot to help the team.
Elizabeth: I like being a leader, and I really love the team – they’ve done really good things for me. So, I just wanted to give back.
Allison: I like to lead and I like to create. I just like it. I like to learn about the team and about other people while I am learning about myself.
Maurie: Since I was in the sixth or seventh grade, I had that goal of being an officer because my babysitters were officers. I’ve always thought it would be cool to be one, and I want to go in the dance career path.
Cassidy: I love Stings so much and I just want to give more to this organization that I am in love with. I want to be able to do more for it.
Q: What is the most important thing that you contribute to the team as an officer?
Shelby: I have been super organized lately, and I’d like to do more of that. In the past, we haven’t been super organized, which isn’t a bad thing. We’ve always made it work. But, this year we’re more focused on making a plan and making goals at the beginning of the year. Personally, I’m very laid back. I try to address things from the perspective that there could be more things in a situation than you are necessarily seeing.
Elizabeth: I’ve had a lot of years of experience as a dancer and as a leader. So, I think the experience is really good for the job.
Allison: I push people. I’m not afraid to push people, because I know that most people can do a lot better than they let themselves do. I know that I can do better than I let myself do, so I push myself, which is also pushing everyone else on the team.
Maurie: Motivation, because I like seeing the girls motivated and I like to be motivating.
Cassidy: I guess my personality – I want to keep everyone motivated – and my dance ability.
Q: What is the purpose of a head captain?
Shelby: A head captain is mostly a position among the other captains one that the team sees. The head captain assigns duties to the other captains, so, while you are still having to do stuff, you are the one that says, “Hey, you need to do this or that.” It’s up to me to resolve all conflicts. So, I don’t take over power entirely. If we are ever discussing something, I try to make sure we come to an agreement on it. But, if we are not, I would just make a decision so we aren’t getting into unnecessary arguments. Also, if Kelsey needs me to make an executive decision, it’s much more efficient for me to make a decision than to present it to the whole team.
Q: What is an officer?
Elizabeth: We are Mrs. Kelsey when she’s not there or has something she needs to do. We watch the team, we choreograph, and teach the dances.
Allison: An officer is a person who can be in a team and who loves everyone on the team. They don’t let people get to their heads. They don’t let the position get to their heads, because that’s not cool. They’re passionate about what they do.
Maurie: It’s leading the team and being there for them on a more personal level for their dance ability and anything they go through.
Cassidy: An officer is somebody who can lead the team and be able to think about what is good for the team no matter what, even if it’s not what they personally want to do or is good for them. Someone who loves the team so much.