Variety of Journalism Experience:
COMMENTS I wrote this story for the 20112012 PAWESEHI yearbook. I was selected as one of St. Louis, Missouri region to have my article published in the St. Louis Today’s Post Dispatch Newspaper, Old Newsboys. Oldnewsboys raises money for children’s charities in the St. Louis area. http://www. stltoday.com/ suburbanjournals/oldnewsboys-day/ news/dancingqueen-exhibitspoise-on-thebig-stage/ article_ f28b5b40-a67f57a1-a662fdd85a99728b. html
Jaw clenched, eyes focused, body relaxed, junior May Pearson joins her partner on stage for her first dance of the Nationals Competition in July 2011. Pearson, a member of Renee's Competition Team of St. Louis, has been dancing with the nationally ranked team for seven years. "I've been dancing since I was 4. When I was 9 years old, my mom said that if I wanted to join Renee's Dance Team I needed to join, because I was getting too old," she said. "I've been on the team ever since." The team competes in four or five competitions each year including Nationals. During summer 2011, Pearson, along with her family and the more than 90 girls from her dance studio, drove a day and half to Fort Walton Beach, Florida, for her second Nationals competition. "I was really excited the night before the first day, I couldn't even sleep," Pearson said. On the first day of Nationals, the team prepared for its seven dances in jazz, contemporary, lyrical and hip-hop. Pearson's team competed in three categories — duet, large group and full dance team. The team prepared for the competition season and Nationals for nine months. Pearson's family spent thousands of dollars over the course of the year to prepare for Nationals. "The money it takes to buy costumes, makeup, fees and to stay in this level of dance would scare most people away, but for me standing on the stage at Nationals is worth it," Pearson said. Each of the dances performed was about three minutes long, but on average it took an hour for the girls to get ready. They had to mentally prepare, get dressed, get hair and makeup done, and do their traditional pep talk. "My mom does my hair and makeup, which is really hard because the hairstyles are so complex. But I love the whole process, because it really helps me get in the zone before dancing," Pearson said. Since the team had been practicing from September to July, none of the dances were that hard for the team to learn. "Most of the nine months we spent practicing was focused on the details of the dance," she said. "It was like second nature to us." The team walked away with High Gold (second place) in duet, and received Ultimate Platinum, two points or less away from perfect scores, in the other dances. It won top studio in the country and awards in costume and choreography. "The fact that it was our last competition for the year made it so much better," Pearson said. "We went full force, with an adrenaline rush making us do really well." Although Pearson's team had been acknowledged at Nationals for four years running, Pearson kept her accomplishments to herself. "I have known Mary for 11 years, and for as long as I have known her, she has not liked to talk about all the awards she and her team receive," her friend Kristina Jordan said. I've been to a few of her competitions, and the dances they pull off and perfect, are incredible. She is such a humble person when it comes to her dancing even though she is amazing."
Nothing but Humble
COMMENTS In November of 2012, I entered my story on freshman Naomi Kodama (seen earlier in this portfolio) into the Power of a Person Contest sponsored by Herff Jones Publishing. My story received over 500 votes and was recognized by Herff Jones as being the best written