Bobcat Dancers keep school spirit moving

Five-year-old Abby Spencer, a Seabeck Bobcat Dancer, practices the routine to “Hey Mickey.” - Photo by Celeste Cornish
Five-year-old Abby Spencer, a Seabeck Bobcat Dancer, practices the routine to “Hey Mickey.”
— image credit: Photo by Celeste Cornish

Gramma Suzi paces the floor at the Seabeck Elementary School Thursday afternoon clutching a sheet of white office paper as though it contains top-secret information. For her and the 20 or so elementary school girls in the gym, it’s more important than that. It’s hard copy of the Seabeck Bobcat Dancers’ dance routine that’s being practiced for an upcoming performance.

Gramma Suzi, also known as Suzi McDonald, finishes with an encouraging pep talk to the girls, then presses “play” on the boom box.

Much to the dismay of the parental units watching their girls dance, the cheery, early-80s Tony Basil one-hit wonder “Hey Mickey” begins to resonate through the building. The dancers all poise their pom pons, then go into their routine. The older girls have the routine down pat: Step forward, raise the pom pons high and low, grapevine, shimmy to the left then the right. The littler girls know the routine but are challenged by doing things in unison.

Overall, the girls give the routine everything they’ve got.

While the routine is in full swing, it is very obvious that someone has put in a lot of time so these girls can show their school spirit.

Gramma Suzi, who volunteers at the school to coach the Bobcat Dancers, praises the girls for a job well done, then goes to work on the finer points of the routine.

The Seabeck Bobcat Dancers practice once a week after school. They perform at school assemblies and Gramma Suzi wants them to get more involved in the community. The group’s last performance was in February and will perform at the school’s spring dance. This year, she would like to see the Seabeck Bobcat Dancers perform in more community events like Whaling Days, she said.

Gramma Suzi took the reigns this year. Her granddaughter, Shayna McDonald, 10, was a Seabeck Dancer for two years before the program lapsed last year. Shayna was able to convince her grandmother to help out.

“I called the PTA president and told her this was something I wanted to do,” Gramma Suzi said.

Shayna likes being a Seabeck Dancer because there aren’t many children in her neighborhood to play with so being a dancer lets her spend more time with her friends.

“I get more exercise, I have more people to talk to,” Shayna said. “You can get real active and you’re able

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