A twirler to remember

Student shares the story of how she made school history

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“A Star Is Born”// Dancing takes hard work, but KK Tunnell loves it. “I don’t know what my life would be like without it,” said Tunnel, junior.

Abby Woloss, Opinions Editor

Like many high school students, KK Tunnell finds herself going to every football game during the season. She gets dressed up, does her hair, and heads to the field ready to experience the teenage frenzy Friday night football games have come to be. Yet the one difference between her and everyone else in the stands: she isn’t sitting in the bleachers. She is on the field, in a shimmery dress, twirling a baton in front of hundreds of people.

KK, a junior, has been twirling alongside the marching band and drill team dancers since her freshman year of high school. She is the first twirler Heath has ever had. During the last 3 years, she has performed for friends, family, and peers. However, she is quick to say this sport didn’t start over night. Years of studio dance practices prepared the dancer to take on the road less traveled.

My mom put me in dance when I was three, so I just grew up loving it.  I’ve done hip hop, tap, jazz, lyrical, ballet, pointe and pom pom.”

Her love of dance was so prominent that she took classes 5 times a week.  Over time, ballet and pointe became her favorite styles, but when she was younger,  jazz was her favorite. She would twirl around in her room, and leap across the kitchen practicing leaps while her mom made dinner.Over time a tutu dressed Tunnel began to thrive in the dance studio, which has transcended into today.

 “I love how I feel when I dance.  For me, it’s a time where I can forget about everything.  I loved being with all my friends at competitions. I also loved the way I felt after I came off the floor from a good performance.  I always loved competitions. They were always so much fun, and I’ve made some wonderful memories from them.”

While she flourished in the performance world, she made many friends along the way. Of these friends, only a few are in her life today, but many she still holds fond memories with.

Sadly,  I don’t really talk to most of them [friends] anymore.  If I see someone that I used to dance with, we’re friendly, but our lives went down separate paths. I haven’t competed in dance [competitions] since 6th grade, so I don’t really see them much.  I do have a friend named Maddie that I have danced with for forever who goes to Rockwall. We still keep in touch.”

Although many people, including those of which whom also danced with her, chose to become involved in drill team and cheer, Tunnell decided she would take an unknown pathway.  She began twirling in school. A type of performance she learned when she was in second grade.

“I took that class [baton twirling] for two years when I decided I wanted to twirl competitively. I really fell in love with twirling when I started competing. [Since that point] it had always been my dream to be the first twirler at Heath.  Rockwall had twirlers before, but Heath hadn’t. So deciding to twirl wasn’t hard, it was just following my dream.”

Tunnell goes to every game, and as much as she loves twirling, sometimes wonders what it would be like to watch a game in the stands with all her schoolmates.

 “Although I love twirling, sometimes I wish I could just sit in the student section and watch the game with all my friends.  But I’m so thankful that I have the opportunity to do what I love.”

As for the future, she hopes to get a scholarship or go to college and twirl. Tunnell loves twirling with a team and solo twirling as well. It would be one more dream she could achieve.

“Getting a scholarship and being able to twirl for my college would be a dream come true. It’s every twirlers goal to twirl for their college one day.”

In her junior year of high school, her twirling days are far from over, but sooner than later these goals she has placed for herself will become distant memories. Soaking up all of the opportunities she is given will only make the memories last longer. And from the look of things, she is going to be in a shimmery dress with a baton for a long time.

“I am so thankful for the friends I’ve made through twirling. I couldn’t imagine life without the relationships I have made from the sport I love.”