Middle and high school girls from feeder schools of Permian High School and PHS itself are spending the summer sprucing up their baton twirling skills in preparation for camp and the school year.
Lisa Henson, Pam Brewer and Naticia Dodson are putting dozens of girls through their paces during private lessons. Although they usually go to camp in another city, they are having one locally this year, June 26 through June 29.
Henson said local coaches and coaches from out of town will come in during the camp, which will cover everything from routines to hair and make-up.
Practices are held throughout the day at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, Permian High School and Henson’s house.
Brewer said the girls are required to practice for at least 30 minutes at home working the tricks they have learned, plus their routine.
Twirling may look easy, but the girls say it’s not; it requires a lot of work.
“Because they have to come back the next day knowing what we have done because we have to move on the next day,” Brewer said.
Despite all the time she has to put in, 13-year-old Magdelyn Nunez, who is going into eighth grade at Nimitz, said it’s rewarding.
“In the end, everyone compliments us,” Nunez said.
Dodson, who was working with girls from Wilson & Young Medal of Honor Middle School, said the lessons are offered every summer.
“We are preparing for our summer exhibition show off and routines for the year,” she said.
The week of June 11 was the third week of practice.
“We’re doing well. I’m excited. We’ve started to catch some of our more advanced tricks like tossing and turning and catching, so we’re definitely developing all of our skills for the school year,” Dodson said.
Thirteen-year-old Elloralinda Ortega will be going into eighth grade at Wilson & Young and this is her second year of twirling. She got interested in twirling in sixth grade when she saw other girls doing it. They were moving fast, which is something she likes to do.
“I get to learn new things that I can do with just a baton it makes me think about what I can do just with other things,” she said.
Alyssa Rodriguez, a 13-year-old going into eighth grade at Wilson & Young, has been taking lessons for two years.
“… I think it’s something new and it’s wonderful to try if you want to go out of your comfort zone and do something cool,” Rodriguez said.
She added that it’s a lot harder than it looks.
Henson is the coach for Bonham Middle School and the Permian JV twirlers. Brewer works with the Permian Varsity and Henson, Brewer and Dodson assist. The lessons also help the girls gel into a team.
They plan to participate in a competition in Lubbock in a couple of weeks.
Natalie Akin, 13, who is going into eighth grade at Bonham Middle School, said they are learning skills while having fun.
“We’re getting advanced in something that we all love doing,” Akin said.
Gabryella Garcia, 13, will also be going into eighth grade at Bonham.
“I love how we can just have fun while working hard at the same time and how you can create a team with people you barely even know and then you wind up being close friends with them,” Garcia said.
Henson said Garcia also does gymnastics and she’s adding some of the routines this year for the first time.