Forney Highsteppers: 50th Anniversary
*Note: This article was written by Don Themer and originally published in the Forney Messenger.
The Forney Highsteppers originated in Forney in 1973 at the urging of Judi McKissick and under the direction of Marlene Baker Williams, who also taught English at Forney High School. the girls had one week to practice and to prepare for trying out for this new organization and had an adult who helped train them. Tryouts were for Officers and Line Members and were held at Forney Elementary School.
Those young ladies, who were selected, then spent one week (Drill Team Camp) learning routines for Football Season Friday night dance performances. The week of training was directed by a "teacher" from outside our School District and was held in a school parking lot. The "Line" members were the ones who decided upon the uniforms and voted for the name of the team - Highsteppers. Ronnie Pittmon, Senior Athlete, was the group's 1st Highstepper Beau.
Georgia Power, Highstepper Director 1976-1977 and 1981-1982, shares her memories, "I vividly remember meeting then wonderful Highstepper members in the Summer of 1976. I was so impressed with their willingness to practice in the 'wonderful' Texas summer heat twice a day - no complaints! They were determined to be the best of the best. At this time, cell phones were not widely available to everyone, so we had to rely on landlines. It did not matter what time we arrived back in Forney after a ball game or home from summer camp, parents were at Forney High School ready to pick up their daughters. I never had to open up the school so that one of them could call their parents. Small town USA!! Also, those sweet high school girls took such leadership roles in preparing for our Spring Show.
They helped decide the theme, choose costumes, and choreograph routines - everything involved in having an entertaining show! My experiences with the Highsteppers will always be in my heart and some of my favorite times in my career in education."
Patty Elzner, Director, 1984-1989, remembers, "All o9f my FHS Highsteppers were 'greatness' (as I am sure most directors believe of their teams). They taught me more than I ever taught them. One thing is for certain, tradition was an is deep within the heart of any FHS Highstepper! these ladies practiced endlessly to be the best and bring the best performance for their audiences, from the football field at Forney High School to the Dallas Mavericks game, and all the way to the award-winning performance at the San Antonio Spurs game. This dedication that they had also rewarded them with many honors and awards. I was, have been, and still am blessed to know each and every young lady on those teams. Thank you all. Ms. "E"
Current Assistant Director, Rylie Vaught, shares, "My experiences being a part of an amazing legacy, The Forney Highsteppers, will always hold a special place in my heart. The opportunities I experienced changed my life forever, especially from dancing at numerous events and taking master classes from big-named choreographers all over the country. The program grew my love for dancing and taught me the skills needed to continue my journey in college. The Director, Stacie Weisberg, taught me how to be a strong woman and to stand up for what is right. She pushed me every day to try new things and to get out of my comfort zone when I didn't have the confidence to do it by myself. I would not be who I am today without the love she has for me as well as for every member who has 'danced' through the program. I am honored to have been, and to still be, a part of such an incredible program."
Stacie Weisberg shares, "Currently in my 18th year with the Highsteppers organization, the experiences and memories made are vast and treasured. I have been blessed to have a front row seat for the better part of two decades to watch the evolution of this amazing organization. From the opening number in the Tournament of Roses Parade, halftime of the FedEx Orange Bowl, to our annual appearance in the Dallas Holiday Parade, the Highsteppers, and now also JV StarDancers, have provided countless show-stopping performances for audiences. I could compile a LONG list of favorite performances/routines, but the best experiences with this organization are the ones made in rehearsal, on long bus rides, or sitting at a table for team dinner. These are the moments when I have been witness to dancers finally conquering a skill, tear-inducing laughter, and the friendships that have been made. I fell honored to be the Director of the 'Fabulous Flair' of Forney, and I look forward to what the future holds."
The Highsteppers of the past have won numerous awards and brought honor and prestige to Forney High School and to the city of Forney, Texas, for many years, and the medals, trophies, and plaques continue as shown by the honors brought home in 2022-2023. Congratulations to all Forney Highsteppers!