posted on April 20, 2010 13:57
As the voices in the room hush and the judges take their places around the room, the pressure is on for the team awaiting its fate on the drill floor. The commander’s voice can be heard loud and clear above the noise of the surrounding drill floors. The tension in the large area can be cut with a knife until the team marches onto the floor. The National High School Drill team Championship held in Daytona Beach Florida, May 1st and 2nd is held for the best of the best.
Last year Benson had the privilege of being invited to the competition which is an invitation only event. This year they are back for seconds and are ready to take blood. The competition consists of thousands of teams from all over the United States. There are two levels in the National Drill meet, Challenge and Masters Level. There are only two ways to make your way into the Masters level, the first is to compete in the Challenge level and place in the category that you compete in. Second and much harder to do is to be invited by an actual judge from the event. It seems easy enough right, but the work and dedication that you need to have in order to achieve these goals are mandatory for victory. It has not been easy but Benson has got what it takes and the Color Guard is ready for a second attempt at glory.
Only three teams from Nebraska were invited to the National Drill Meet and Benson was one of them. This is an extraordinary feet for such a small school competing against so many others that are bigger and have more funding. This cannot be easy but the four on the team don’t seem to be breaking a sweat when the competition is mentioned.
Junior Tyler Effle, the commander of the color guard going to Nationals is calm as I drill him with questions about the upcoming adventure.
“I have been waiting for this all year and after beating Bellevue on their own floor, it only makes me more excited to get over there and kick butt,” Said Effle.
The other students that are under the command of Effle are Senior Peter Drake, sophomores Burgundy Johnson and Alecia Pinkney, coached by Sgt. Major Falcon an AJROTC instructor. The team is excited and nervous for the event, and are happy to represent their school in front of the thousands of schools from around the country. Not only are they representing Benson but they are also representing the whole OPS school district and will bring pride back with them, with or without a trophy. They are hoping for the ladder
“If we place we are going to Joes Crab Shack after the awards ceremony,” said Johnson.
The team has already done big things this year and in past years. They have won three trophies in the span of three drill meets for color guard alone. On top of this they are rebuilding their whole team as most of the team that went to Nationals the previous year has moved on to graduate from high school and the team is once again starting from square one. There are practices in the morning and during class and with the practices come great results.
There is no doubt in anyone that this team will go far in their trek to greatness. With time, practice and commitment anything is possible for this up and coming team.
Story written by Elizabeth Perkins