Waukee High School Dance Team Receives Character Counts Award at ISDTA State Competition

Waukee High School Varsity Dance Team received three state titles and three honorable awards at the Iowa State Dance and Drill Association (ISDTA) 2016 state competition, December 2, at Wells Fargo Arena.

Waukee was awarded judge’s choice, the Character Counts award, an academic award for the highest grade point average in the state and finished second place in hip-hop and first place in pom and lyrical routines.

“This year the team really took everything to heart. Their schedules, school work, attitude, relationships with peers and positive attitude during practice made them the perfect winner of this award,” said coach, Allison Mayberger.

This was the first time Waukee has received the Character Counts Award. The award is given to one team that competes at the state competition each year. To receive the award, a team must embody the 6 Pillars of Character: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship. The award was created to recognize a team’s commitment to qualities associated with good behavior instead of spotlighting one act of character or individual achievement.

“We did a lot of team volunteer work that brought us together. We were focused on helping others and bettering the community–which is what this award is all about,” said senior team member, Morgan Loecke.

Waukee has won state titles ten consecutive years now, winning their first lyrical state championship this year, along with their third hip-hop, and ninth pom.

“When our routines were over we knew we had nailed it, and it was a great way to end my last state competition,” said senior team member, Hannah Wagner.

With practices 3-4 times a week, the team not only worked on their dancing but also continued to build their character. In the summer, Coach Mayberger urged the girls to read The Heart of an Athlete by The Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The book encompasses the 6 Pillars of Character and includes many valuable lessons.

“We talked about sportsmanship and how we would display ourselves when winning does and does not go our way. I individually talked with dancers about their responsibilities to this team, persevering when it’s challenging and how important it is to be accountable for their actions,” said Mayberger.

Waukee Dance Team’s hard work and dedication to the 6 Pillars of Character made them stand out in the eyes of the judges and created a great team atmosphere which led to their overall success.

“When I asked the team to stand and applaud teams that beat them they did so with a smile, when I asked them to ignore social media pressures they turned their phones off and listened, when I asked them to write thank you notes after receiving feedback they did it gladly. They celebrated differences, treated each other with respect and truly did their share to make the Waukee Community a better place,” said Mayberger.

Waukee will continue to practice their routines and the 6 Pillars of Character as they prepare for the regional competition. The Spirit of America regional dance competition will be held on January 7 at the Mall of America in Minnesota.