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Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

Student opinion: Smaller schools should not equal smaller opportunities

Krajicek pushes for Yutan dance team

A common topic of debate amongst families with high school aged students is whether bigger or smaller schools offer more opportunities for students. While an argument can be made for both, I’d like to focus on how attending a smaller school has kept me from representing my school while doing the thing I enjoy most: dance. That is why I believe our school needs to add dance team to the list of opportunities we provide.

A smaller school has specifically kept me from representing my school while doing the one thing that I enjoy most: dance.

For the last nine and a half years, I have spent 15-20 hours per week at my dance studio putting in the time to learn, rehearse and develop my skills in all genres of dance. While this level of commitment may not be super common among the vast majority of people who participate in dance at some point in their childhood, dance in itself is an incredibly common activity that parents choose to put their children in.

Many high schools around the state offer dance team as a school-based activity to serve the interests of those many children who enjoy dance, but Yutan is not one of them. Currently, Yutan and DC West are the only two schools in the Nebraska Capitol Conference that do not have a dance team. The other seven conference member schools are actually looking to get a conference dance competition added just as there is a conference tournament for other sports. But it’s not just the Capitol Conference that has dance teams. Other area Class C schools such as Wahoo, Bishop Neumann, Ashland and Fremont Bergan also offer this opportunity to their students.

Some may argue that Yutan already has cheerleading , but cheer and dance are not the same thing. Both have their state competition through the Nebraska Coaches Association, but each has their own separate handbook with rules and regulations and scoresheet criteria. Others may argue that I can just transfer to a school that does offer dance team. This would be an incorrect statement as well. The transfer rules that NSAA uses would apply to dance team as well even though it is not an NSAA-sanctioned activity. Transferring is also limited due to closed enrollment at bigger districts who have competitive dance teams that make trips to the national level competitions. I also don’t want to transfer because of the good things I enjoy here at Yutan such as friendships and having my family with me all the time. My family did look into the possibility of a co-op for dance team, but unfortunately, since dance is not an NSAA activity, a co-op would make our partner school’s team  ineligible to participate in the NCA state competition. 

I realize that starting a dance team at Yutan isn’t a cut and dry issue. Districts won’t blindly start a new activity without a proper proposal that includes what it will cost, so it is necessary to look at the financial side of things as well. Through research, Amy Krajicek, my mom and the district school nurse, discovered that being a member of a dance team at a high school in Nebraska is actually very expensive, ranging from $900-$1800 in out-of-pocket costs. Team members are asked to come up with a large amount of money right off the bat in the spring after they make the dance team. The initial cost is mostly for the week-long Universal Dance Association (UDA) Camp registration, uniforms and gear. The UDA Camp is attended by all of the high school dance teams wishing to get a bid to the National Competition. This camp is also an opportunity to improve and learn proper technique for different dance skills as well as several different routines of choreography that they can use at football or basketball games. After the first sum of money is due, other fees that must be covered are competition entry fees, choreography fees, music fees, competition uniforms and travel expenses. Area wide, the school does not cover any of these costs. The money is raised from individual and team fundraising throughout the year. Why do other activities get covered by schools but dance members have to come up with the costs all by themselves? It doesn’t make complete sense to me why the financial aspect works this way across the board, but it definitely seems to be the norm. This means that adding a dance team at Yutan wouldn’t add a significant cost to the school.

Our school is full of great role models, and we should have the opportunity to represent and mentor kids in all activities, not just the most well-known sports.

Another point to consider would be the amount of interest. There aren’t any rules within the NCA State Competition about how many dancers a school must have to participate. For this reason, I don’t think current interest to start a dance team necessarily needs to be super extreme. Once we are able to establish a team, the interest level will naturally grow. Little girls in the district who dance as children will see that they can be a part of a competitive dance team in high school just like they may look forward to being a part of the high school volleyball or basketball team. Our school is full of great role models, and we should have the opportunity to represent and mentor kids in all activities, not just the most well-known sports.

For all of these reasons, I feel that Yutan should have a dance team to offer more opportunities to those interested and involved. Ultimately, it’s about offering equal opportunities to all students. As of now, I feel that we are ignoring some prime interests and talents of some students here at Yutan. If we have someone willing to sponsor a dance team and there is at least some interest in getting one going, I think the school should be able to make it happen. Let’s not dance around the issue and instead give all of our students the opportunity to show off their talents while representing the Chieftan way.

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About the Contributor
Kylie Krajicek
Kylie Krajicek, Sophomore writer
Kylie Krajicek is a sophomore and in her second year of journalism.  She enjoys taking pictures.  Outside journalism, Kylie is involved in volleyball, track and dance.
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