Highsteppers and Hawkettes team up to help Hurricane Harvey victims


A. Crozier, Staff Writer

Red Oak ISD’s drill teams combined efforts this September to send much needed replacement costumes to their peers at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Port Arthur Texas.

The director of the Dazzlin’ Dolls, Debbie Barnes, wrote a Facebook (in a Director’s group) about needing help because of Hurricane Harvey damage. The Dazzlin’ Dolls specifically requested costumes. And Red Oak students answered the call.

“We have more than the supplies we need,” said Cathy Isaacks, ROMS dance director. Ms Isaacks saw the Facebook post and decided to coordinate this effort along with help from Ms.Robbins, the ROHS Hawkettes director. “If it was us [trying to perform without costumes because of an unforseen disaster], we would not feel whole or like an actual team.”

Donating clothing, or in this case costumes, is helpful but sometimes little things can go along way too. Qelise Freeman, an eighth grade dance student, said that if she had the chance she would donate items like hair ties, bobby pins, and other accessories. “I feel like we really made a difference,” Freeman said.

Some of the items donated the Dazzlin’ Dolls included poms, sequin performance tops, skirts, and performance pants.

Mia Hernandez, a 9th grade ROHS Hawkette thinks that it would be better to donate money so the victims can buy everything that they actually need. Hernandez believes that the Dazzlin’ Dolls would be able to get back on their feet with help from other organizations, staying positive, and not losing hope.

However, not everyone was so calm about what they lost in the storm. And some even felt like they weren’t prepared. 

“I feel mad because they could have warned us ahead of time, and our stuff wouldn’t have gotten damaged,” said Ra’Niya Gipson an 8th Grader at Thomas Jefferson Middle School. “So many family members are really depressed because they lost so much stuff they worked hard for.”

While many people, students included, lost nearly all of their possessions due to hurricane and historic flood damage from Corpus Cristi up the Texas coast to  Houston and Port Arthur, there are those who choose to see the positive side of things. 

“The girls feel that no one should have to go through a storm without anyone telling them to evacuate or having any form of shelter,” said Dazzlin’ Dolls eighth grader Nydia Dugas. “Some of our girls lost a lot of dance material, but [it] was able to be replaced. So God is good.”

As the Texas Gulf Coast begins the process of clean up and recovery, residents who stayed in their homes face a daunting task and a new normal. What isn’t going to change? This school year, the show will go on for the Dazzlin’ Dolls drill team.

“We will be going to American Dance and Drill Team competition because they gave us a grant that waived all of our entry fees. Without that, we would not have been able to go to competition.” Barnes explained.

A dancer at Thomas Jefferson Middle School who requested to remain unnamed said she will will bounce back by keeping her head up, focusing on my school work, and continuing to follow her dreams. She believes that, if you are knocked down, you should always get back up and try again. “The harder the battle, the better the victory.”