All the right moves

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 13, 2006

There's been some high steppin' going on down in south Butler County – and it's been winning awards, too.

McKenzie High's &#8220Down South” Steppers are making a name for themselves among area step teams.

LaSha Pitts, Carrena Davison, Janae Johnson, Holly Tolbert, Jasmaine Shufford, LaRonica Peterson, Akeia Owens, Markentia Ball and co-captains Jeffrey Nix and Candis Davison make up the 2005-2006 MHS step team.

&#8220The kids have done really well. The school really supports us a great deal, and we appreciate that,” step team sponsor Precious Peterson said. Peterson, a business and marketing education teacher at MHS, has worked with the team since its beginning three years ago.

&#8220We started the group mainly to perform within the school. Then we discovered other schools and communities with teams, and started competing against them.”

Candis Davison, who is team co-captain with Jeffrey Nix, said, while competition was her number one favorite thing about being on the step team, it wasn't its only attraction.

&#8220I love competing, of course, but I also like seeing new places, meeting new teams – and showing off what we can do,” Davison said with a confident grin.

The team members get some of their inspiration for their routines by looking at past shows and revamping old steps.

&#8220Sometimes, when they see something they like in a music video, they will work it into a step,” Peterson said.

During the weeks before competitions, the Down South Steppers practice as many as three to four times a week, for up to one to three hours at a time, perfecting their steps and polishing their rhythmic moves.

Their hard work has paid off.

&#8220We have placed either first or second in every competition we've entered so far, except one,” the proud team sponsor said.

The McKenzie team also assisted teens in neighboring Greenville in establishing the step team that performs there.

The ten-member team will be losing about half its membership once graduation arrives, so Peterson is eagerly on the lookout for those who want to come on board and do some &#8220down South steppin.'”

&#8220I enjoy having the kids around me. Seeing them doing something positive, staying out of trouble, having something to be really happy about,” Peterson said.

&#8220They feel good about their accomplishments and so do I.”