By Emily Pomeroy and Lizzie Redmore
Jamesville-DeWitt High School stepped it up against Fayetteville-Manlius High School in the first inaugural Step Off Team Fundraiser hosted at J-DHS on Friday, Nov. 21. Together the schools raised around $600 from admission prices to donate to Golisano Children’s Hospital to benefit cancer victims.
J-DHS Step Team co-captain, senior Essence Britt, said the step team wanted to fundraise in an entertaining way, so decided to host a step off along with a basketball tournament. The desire to fundraise came from both F-MHS and J-DHS captains wanting to make a difference in childhood cancer, said senior co-captain Tal Frieden.
Although a team from F-MHS won the basketball tournament, there was no real winner of the step off. Some say F-MHS won because of the size of the team and organization, but others say J-D won because of their camouflage uniforms and their transitions in the routines. “J-D looked better but F-MHS stepped better,” said freshman Carlena Torrens who attended the event. Aside from the controversy of the competition, both teams considered the fundraiser a success.
The event was “awesome,” according to senior spectator Paddy Hagan, because it brought the community together including students and parents from both schools. J-DHS plans on getting revenge next year if the event becomes annual and to exceed the amount of money raised. “The step team is above and beyond and it’s a real pleasure to get to see them every half time [at our school games],” said Hagan.
Britt and Frieden, along with 10 committed members advised by teacher-aid Clarece Coleman make up “J-D’s Finest” step team. Star stepper junior Nahzier Smith along with Britt come up with most of their own steps but sometimes find inspiration from websites online to teach to the team.”I think we all bring something to the table.” said Frieden
Usually the team practices two times a week during activity period during basketball season, but around three or four weekly when they are scheduled to perform at a big event such as pep-rallies or Senior Night. Occasionally the team performs at private parties like birthday parties, block parties and bat mitzvahs. In February, they travel to the J-D elementary schools and Lockheed Martin in Liverpool, NY to celebrate African-American History Month.
Predominantly a black type of dance, the J-DHS Step Team welcomes all races. The two caucasian members, freshman Lainey Foti and Frieden, say they enjoy being apart of the team because of the cultural experience. “It’s not hard fitting in they’re all very friendly and I’m outgoing so it all works out.” says Foti. “They call me Snowflake!”
“We hope to perform on J-D Day again and all the basketball games and we’re in discussion about step offs with other schools.” says Frieden.