MSD incorporates middle schoolers into the Eagle Regiment color guard

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Carolina Ochoa Lozano

MSD’s color guard supports the school at the Friday Night Football game in the stands while the band plays. During half-time, the color guard performs on the field as a part of the marching band show.

Elyssa Harrison, Photographer

As their silks wave in the wind, the girls hold their poses and watch the drum majors conduct the band during the temporary period of silence. After a second of only hearing the audience applaud, the band begins to play once again, continuing their show and marching their drill. The youngest members of the color guard spin their flags and rifles with their teammates as they prance around the football field.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s color guard has always been inclusive when it comes to who joins their team, especially when it comes to middle schoolers. Currently, there are three color guard members that attend Westglades Middle School: Danielle Ross, Mackenzie Jay and Keira Kleinfeld; they all joined the A Guard last year during the 2022 winter guard season and are currently in the 2022 marching season.

“I think it’s a great idea to have middle schoolers in guard, I think it’s very inspiring as an educator to see younger kids look up to the activity, and look up to the highschoolers and them be that inspired to join the team and work up to the same level as the older kids,” color guard instructor Dustin Juers said.

The girls have learned a variety of skills through colorguard, ranging from different tosses with their equipment, leadership, communication and dances. Additionally, they have practiced endlessly in all sorts of conditions, whether it be a bright and sunny day, or a rainy and windy night. Although Ross, Jay and Kleinfeld may be exhausted after a long day of practice, they persevere and try their hardest.

“I want to get better and challenge myself. I also want to be a role model to younger kids who want to be in color guard or are already in color guard,” Kleinfeld said.

The girls dedicate a majority of their freetime to color guard, having practices three to four times every week for usually four hours. Occasionally, there are also rehearsals on Saturdays as well, which can be up to 10 hours, not including color guard assignments, practicing at home or competition days.

“Being in middle school, it’s tough because we miss out on a lot. Not even just guard class, but we also miss out on the beginning of practice, and some drill. The coaches are really understanding, and there’s always someone there to teach us whether it be a coach or one of our peers, but it can get stressful when we are late,” Ross said.

The average school day for Westglades ends at 3:45 p.m., which interferes with MSD practice that usually starts at 3:15 p.m. three times a week. Jay enjoys the proximity of the middle and high school because the girls often walk together to MSD after school on days they have rehearsal. It can be difficult to walk to MSD being in Florida because rain can cause delays in arrival, which means they have to be picked up in the carline and arrive later to practice then they usually are. The best weather is clear skies, no wind and minimal humidity.

“The kids are very mature, and when they come in they adapt to what the students are already learning, and already working on, and they blend in very, very well. They take instruction very well, and they take it upon themselves to learn anything they may have missed,” Juers said.

The girls work side by side with the other color guard veterans. The trio mix in with the high schoolers so well that most of the older members forget that they are in middle school.

“Even though starting in middle school can be a pain, it is worth it in the end with the experiences and I will do everything I can to continue guard throughout high school,” Jay said.

Out of the 33 girls that are currently in color guard, seven of them began in middle school and are currently in high school. The girls that are currently in middle school all said that they plan on continuing color guard until they graduate from high school, and they cannot wait for what their futures in color guard may hold for them.