Published on Tuesday, April 26, 2016 by Gail Finch
Music booming through the speakers, people in the stands cheering, and girls in sparkly outfits are the images usually synonymous with high school drill teams. The Shy-Anne’s are the spitting image of that, only there’s one addition: a boy. Sophomore Andrew Medina is the first male dancer for the Shy-Anne’s team, and is no stranger to dance.
“I was recruited by Ms. Evans,” Andrew said. “The fact that she went out of her way to give me a chance meant a lot to me, so I decided to tryout.”
Andrew wasn’t intimidated by the idea of being the first boy on the drill team, but instead was encouraged by challenge and looked forward to gaining ground.
“Everyone told me not to join the drill team, so I knew I should do it,” Andrew said, “More than anything it was more of a challenge that I wanted to get past.”
Despite it being somewhat unconventional for a boy to be on the drill team, Andrew’s received a lot of positivity from his peers about being on the team.
“I feel like he has proven a lot of people wrong,” senior Destinee Vargas said. “I think he’s done exactly what he’s supposed to do. He’s maintained all the Shy-Anne’s expectations, and he’s done what’s expected of him.”
Not only do his peers praise him, but his coaches have also given him encouragement and support, seeing him as an equal on the team and not just an outcast on the drill team.
“I feel excited that Andrew’s on the team,” Shy-Anne head coach Shana Jeter said. “I think having a guy on the drill team is really progressive and amazing. We all love having him.”
Although Andrew has received positive responses, he still feels extra pressure to perform at a higher level.
“I think the hardest thing is the pressure of being the only boy on the team, and everyone expects you to be ten times better than the girls,” Andrew said, “I guess that freaks me out sometimes.”
Though many male and female students have already broken gender norms when it comes to sports and organizations, there are still some areas where it is more taboo.
“Having a boy on the cheer squad is frequently seen as more normal than having a boy on the drill team because drill teams are more known for their femininity and their grace.” Andrew said.
“Members are known for being girls, so no one thinks about having a guy on the team.”
The female dominated area of expression that is dance doesn’t discourage Andrew in the slightest, instead it fuels his desire even more.
“I plan to pursue dance outside of high school,” Andrew said. “I’m taking extra dance lessons outside of school, and they’ve given me a lot of opportunities.”
Now that there’s a male Shy-Anne, other girls of the team have begun to have a different take on what it means to be a dancer.
“Andrew being on the drill team has given me a broader outlook on dance,” Destinee said, “It’s helped give me a better perspective of how dancing can be done by both females and males and it’s shown that no matter what a person’s gender is they can still be a team and dance as a unit.”
Andrew being on the team has opened the other girls up to not only the prospect of male teammates, but in it’s own way unified the team on and off the dance floor
“Usually within the team there are little groups of girls and little cliques, but with Andrew being here, I’ve noticed that we interact more as a team,” Destinee said, “He hasn’t let his gender or anything interfere with other people’s thoughts and opinions.”
Andrew plans to continue to pursue dancing and looks at being a male as an asset instead of a handicap when it comes to dance.
“Boys have the ability to progress faster given the physicality of dance, compared to girls.” Andrew said, “They shouldn’t be limited by the opinions of others.”