Teacher inspires students with danceBlaylock is longtime educator

Longtime cheer and dance studio owner Welton Blaylock is imparting his knowledge of the many forms of boogie to students at Wilson & Young Medal of Honor Middle School and they’re loving it.
The reason, in part, is as 13-year-old seventh-grader Emilee Easley said Blaylock is a lot of fun and a good teacher.
“He inspires me to drive for perfection,” 14-year-old eighth-grader Jazlynn Ceballos said.
“I enjoy the creativity and being around a whole bunch of other people …,” Ceballos added.
Blaylock’s dance team, the Wilson & Young Rangerettes, has 38 members and his dance program features about 140 students in grades sixth through eight.
Ballet, hip-hop, modern and lyrical are among the dance classes offered. “Lyrical is a foundation of our ballet, so we’re doing a lot of modern dance getting on the floor and learning creative movement,” Blaylock said.
Many students on the squad had danced before and knew each other before they were on the team.
“We get crazy. We get laughing. We have fun,” Novali Garcia, a 14-year-old seventh-grader said. Her sister, Nazareth Garcia, also 14 and in seventh grade, is on the team.
Blaylock said students are preparing for the first annual spring show in May. He added that he’s allowing them to devise the choreography and then he’ll tweak it and make sure they have the skills to pull it off.
He added that the program feeds into the Permian High School Panther Paws dance team. Some of his students come to his studio, Shout Cheerleading, for extra help. Shout Cheerleading has been in business almost 30 years.
Before joining Wilson & Young, Blaylock was a long-term substitute teacher at Hays Magnet Academy.
Teaching students the foundation of dance has been rewarding because he’s gotten to see the youngsters develop their talent. The benefit of the PE and dance program, Blaylock said, is keeping students involved.
“Some of them may not be just truly involved in their core classes, but the core, they can’t do the extracurriculars in the fine arts. They know I’ll look at core first – their math, their reading. You must maintain the proper grades for that in order to even do this,” he said.
While learning dance, students also are learning about different languages and cultures, Blaylock said.
“The biggest reward for me is seeing that these kids are enthusiastic about coming to school. Yes, they love the math and art, but knowing that I can play a role in getting them to class, making sure that we don’t have truancy makes a huge difference and hopefully it helps those core teachers out, as well,” Blaylock added.
His students also have noticed some side benefits.
“Whenever you’re going through a hard time, it’s really easy to dance and let it all go while you’re dancing. You don’t have to think about it,” Easley said.
“It’s like a therapy,” 14-year-old eighth-grader Makayla Madrid said. “You can do it when you’re mad, or when you’re sad, or when you’re happy. And you can just be yourself.”
This is Blaylock’s first year of teaching. He was a long-term substitute for five years at Hays when he said he fell in love with the profession and decided it was his calling. Hays Principal Amy Anderson had told him years ago that he should go into teaching.
Last year, he was approached with a chance to Wilson & Young and view the dance and PE program. “I found out that they had an opening this year and I was offered the opportunity do it while I’m going through certification. I’ll be certified this year and I’m finishing another degree,” Blaylock said.
An All-American gymnast at Permian High School, Blaylock received a scholarship to the University of Oklahoma in Norman for academics and gymnastics. He transferred to Texas Tech University and that same year, Tech got rid of its gymnastics program, so he ended up trying out for the cheerleading team. He was offered a scholarship for that.
He is a graduate of Texas Tech, Colorado Technical University and is working on a master’s degree in psychology from Argosy University, his ECISD web page said.
“You’re bringing another aspect of cheer and dance into education, because a lot of it is education,” Blaylock said. “They have to know terminology. They have to know technique, so you’re just building on top of a solid foundation.”
Blaylock said cheer and dance have filtered through his family. His oldest daughter, A’Leesha Blaylock, was offered a scholarship to Wayland Baptist University and his younger daughter, Marilee, is in the dance program at Ector Middle School.
“It’s it’s almost like a family trend in cheer and dance. I didn’t think this was what I wanted to do, but it’s like a destined thing. With this opportunity at Wilson & Young it’s been phenomenal because we get … a diverse population coming in with so much talent …,” Blaylock said.
Before he got into teaching, Blaylock worked at Workforce Solutions for 23 years. He was spurred into teaching because he wanted to be near his daughters.
“I come to work and it does not feel like work,” he said. “It just feels like play, but we’re actually learning. …”