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13 questions with senior Jeanie Balzer

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Senior Jeanie Balzer has been involved with the flag team since her freshman year. This year, Balzer serves as the flag capitan. All three of her of her older siblings have been involved with band, while two of them have been on the flag team as well.

1. What is your role on the flag team?

“This year I am the flag captain.”

2. What responsibilities do you have in this role?

“As captain, it’s my job to teach the new flag members the moves, choreograph the routines, teach the routines, teach the drill charts (where we stand on the field), organize which flags we’ll use during the games, communicating information about call times for games and parades, upcoming practices or performances, and uniforms needed for performances with the team, and work with the student(s) that will be captain next year and help prepare them for their role the next year.”

3. What does being on the flag team entail?

“The flag team performs with the band in all the parades, at the home games, and at the FHSU Marching Festival and WAC. Flags spend time in M1 (band class) and before school preparing and practicing routines. When we practice our routines, we work on memorizing the moves and getting the timing of the moves right with the other girls on the team.”

4. When did you decide you wanted to be involved with flag team? Why did you decide?

“Well, we moved to Kansas when I was in the fourth grade and my sister Jackie was a freshman at Hays High, and she was on the flag team. I think at that point I realized I wanted to do flags someday. Also, in band I play the oboe, but you can’t march with oboe like other instruments because it has a double reed. I knew when I got to high school I would have to find another option for marching season other than my oboe. I could pick up another instrument for marching season (like sophomore Cameron Carlin does – he plays oboe during concert season and saxophone during marching season), or I could join percussion during marching season and play symbols or something (like my brother Jacob, who was also an oboe player did his freshman year before he became drum major), or I could do flags.”

5. What performance do you look forward to the most?

“I usually most look forward to the last home game of the year because at that point in the season the flag team has really gotten close and it is just a really fun, happy, emotional night.”

6. What is the most difficult part of being involved with the team?

“The most difficult part about being involved with flag team is dealing with people not knowing their routines. We counteract this by scheduling more before school practices.”

7. How much time do you dedicate to this activity?

“I spend class time (2-3 classes a week), before school practices starting at 7:30, and practicing at home – choreographing and memorizing routines.”

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8. Were any of your other family members involved with flag team?

“Both of my older sisters did flags and were flag captains their senior years. Jackie graduated in 2012 and Julie graduated in 2014.”

9. Does flag team ever interfere with your academics? If yes, how so?

“Sometimes for band we have to miss school for competitions such as WAC and FHSU Marching Festival. When we miss school we have to make up that work, which is a pain. Also, flags have homework just like any other class because we are expected to know our routines, but practicing as homework hasn’t interfered with any of my other homework.”

10. What is your favorite part about being involved with the team?

“My favorite part of being involved with flags is seeing the improvements the girls make from the beginning of the season to the end, and being a part of the family we all become throughout the year.”

11. How do you come up with the routines to perform?

“Essentially, we have a list of moves with different counts that we combine in different orders to fit the counts, beats, and flow of the songs. If you look closely at our routines a lot of parts are pretty similar.”

12. Do you like the uniforms flag team has? Why or why not?

” Yes, they fit nice and aren’t restricting like the band’s uniforms are (we can tie our own shoes). They can be cold at times, but we wear under armor under are uniforms to help keep us warm. We looked into getting new uniforms this year that were maroon and gold, instead of our black and gold current ones, to match school colors better, but we had issues with the company and it didn’t look like they would arrive in time before the end of the season. I think the flags can expect new uniforms in the next couple of years though.”

13. What would you say to anyone considering participating in flag team?

“Try it. It is a wonderful thing to be a part of and you become so close to the other flag members that it truly does become its own family.”

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The School Newspaper of Hays High School
13 questions with senior Jeanie Balzer