School spirit doesn’t stop after band

Published 10:34 am Monday, May 23, 2011

SP Color Guard use own resources to keep going

The students and advisor of the South Point High School Color Guard team know what dedication is all about.

During band season, the color guard team is part of the band, adding visual effects to the band performance through movement, flags, colors and rifles. During this time, color guard advisor, Joshua Lear, is paid to help direct the team.

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But after band season, the team doesn’t stop.

The team of 12 continues practicing and competing, spending entire Saturdays polishing up routines and traveling to and from the competitions. Lear is right there with them, volunteering his time, energy and resources to help the team become the best they can be.

“We are extremely grateful,” said South Point sophomore Nicole Norta about Lear’s dedication.

Taryn Snodgrass, South Point freshman, is thankful for Lear’s involvement.

“When Josh got there, there was no winter guard,” Taryn said. “He taught us everything.”

The team practices three days a week from the time school ends until 5 p.m., and when there’s a competition coming up, that increases significantly.

“We practice from 7 a.m. until noon, and then we leave to go to competition,” Lear said. After that, they are on the bus for two to three hours and then they perform and drive back. “We start our day at 7 in the morning and won’t be done until 9 p.m.”

“When you commit to color guard, you commit to it,” said Rebekah Swartzwelder, senior.

All that practice is paying off.

“We’ve been pretty successful,” Lear said. “We are the color guard powerhouse of Southern Ohio. In our region there has only been one other color guard team to beat us.” He added that on the state level, during the four years he has been there, the team has always placed in the top five.

“It’s been a tremendous experience,” he added. This past winter guard competition, the team achieved third place. “It’s the first time a school in Southern Ohio has ever placed in the top three in the division.”

Lear has a motto he stands by and wants the students to follow.

“You should always push to have last year’s maximum to be this year’s minimum,” he said.

In addition to all the practice time, the team and Lear put many hours into the team fundraising and doing their part to make the team better. Without school support, the color guard raises their own money to get transportation to and from events, and are thankful for the time the community has helped out, including First Southern Baptist church in South Point donating their van for a weekend.

Some team members bought their own rifles and sabers and Lear even worked to make new flags for the team.

“I’m a big stickler on advancing the arts in the communities,” Lear said. “In color guard, your body is your instrument.”

“Josh is like an artist,” Nicole said.

“To me, we are family,” said Lear, who has been involved himself in color guard since age 12.

“He’s like a second dad,” Nicole said. “He’s always there if you need him.”

“You make so many friends with color guard,” said Rachel Swartzwelder, eighth grade. “We’re always hanging out.”

Lear added that there are so many benefits from color guard.

“We work hard to grow as people,” he said. “Learning how to organize, how to be punctual, how to work as a group. I’ve learned leadership through color guard. I believe color guard is the reason I’m here today.”