Last updated: May 06. 2014 3:16PM -
By Chase Bussey Smith-Cotton High School



COURTESY OF SEDALIA SCHOOL DISTRICT 200 Seven Smith-Cotton High School seniors have been on the school's High Voltage dance team together since they were freshmen. From left, Chasity Merritt, Samantha Hansen, Darion Mayes, Kandas Egner, Logan Holman, Devyn Bryant and Abby Villanueva have “come a long way since we were freshmen,” Merritt said. “We're really close.”
COURTESY OF SEDALIA SCHOOL DISTRICT 200 Seven Smith-Cotton High School seniors have been on the school's High Voltage dance team together since they were freshmen. From left, Chasity Merritt, Samantha Hansen, Darion Mayes, Kandas Egner, Logan Holman, Devyn Bryant and Abby Villanueva have “come a long way since we were freshmen,” Merritt said. “We're really close.”
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For seven seniors, this year marks the end of a four-year journey on the High Voltage dance team, a journey of smiles and sadness, laughter and tears.


Devyn Bryant, Kandas Egner, Samantha Hansen, Logan Holman, Darion Mayes, Chasity Merritt and Abby Villanueva have shared their experiences on High Voltage for their entire high school careers. They’ve grown together from relatively inexperienced freshmen to team leaders, and they’ve become a sort of family of their own.


The High Voltage dance team is comprised of high school students who promote school spirit through performances at school pep assemblies, as well as at football, basketball and soccer games. In addition, the team hosts a dance clinic annually for girls in kindergarten through eighth grade.


High Voltage girls meet for practice twice a week from April, when tryouts are held, through February. Naturally, all this time spent together brings the girls closer, helping them to become a family in their own right. In addition to this, the team has Big Sis/Little Sis pairs, a mentorship program designed to help with team-building as well as learning the routines.


For this year’s seniors, High Voltage has been a crucial part of their high school experience. Many of the girls have met their best friends because of the team, including Merritt and Hansen.


“Sam is my best friend, and I didn’t know her before we joined High Voltage together,” Merritt said.


Merritt said the girls on the team have “been through a lot … But we’ve come a long way since we were freshmen. We’re really close.” That closeness is exhibited especially well in the way they communicate with each other.


Merritt said, “We can look at each other,” and Mayes interjected, “and just know what we’re thinking.” It’s a degree of connection the underclassmen just don’t have yet.


Adding to all of this are the leadership roles often assumed by the upperclassmen, especially the seniors. Captains are generally chosen from the upperclassmen, but even those who are not chosen as captains often will help teach routines to the other dancers, taking a leadership and mentoring role in that respect. The upperclassmen take the lead on the K-8 dance clinic as well. The girls have had to learn how to work together and present cohesive leadership, and that experience also draws them together.


Of course, the girls aren’t just together as teammates. In addition to the team sleepovers that naturally follow this group of friends, many of the students participate in other extracurricular activities together, such as DECA, or show choir. The love of dance has drawn this group together, not just as a team, but as a family.

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