Mavettes Celebrate 50 Years

Mavettes Celebrate 50 Years As Marshall Treasure
Posted on 10/04/2018
This is the image for the news article titled Mavettes Celebrate 50 Years As Marshall TreasureWho knows if the late Ms. Charlsie Cooke envisioned 2018 when, in the fall of 1968, she took a crowded pep squad of close to 400 young ladies and created from it Marshall High School’s first true dance and drill team.

But if she did, surely Ms. Cooke would be proud of what the Marshall Mavettes have become, 50 years later, as a proud tradition at Marshall High School and Marshall in general.

Quietly, the Mavettes are preparing for their official 50 year birthday celebration later this school year, specifically during the 50th Annual Mavette Spring Show in April. But this fall marks the 50th straight year the Mavettes have been performing and wowing audiences to their high kick, prop routines at Maverick football games since 1968.

“While a lot has changed, the sisterhood and camaraderie of the team is something every Mavette has been able to experience,” said Heather Hill, a former Mavette who grew up in Marshall and has returned home to serve as Mavette Director the past three years. “I remind the girls all the time that they first represent themselves and their families, then the Mavette organization, and finally Marshall High School. They continue to learn how to carry themselves, that their actions matter, and that they should always remember what they are representing.”

Prior to 1968, the word “Mavettes” had been associated with the school’s pep squad of close to 400 girls who cheered from the stands at game but did not perform at halftime or pep rallies. Ms. Cooke had a vision of a drill/dance team that could also become a showpiece of sorts at football games and other events, and decided to start a smaller group that would focus on dance, performance and routines.

An entry from the 1968-1969 “Maverick” yearbook states the Mavettes’ original goal as an organization for that first year:

“The Mavettes are Marshall’s newly formed drill team. Much time and work has been spent to make this organization one of which the school can be proud. Mrs. (Charlsie) Cooke sponsors the Mavettes, and Sandra Blalock, who has devoted much time and effort, serves as Colonel. The Drill Team is composed of 107 members who were chosen in tryouts held during the spring. The officers attended SMU Drill Team Camp this summer. Throughout the month of August the Drill Team members worked diligently at learning the basics for performing and also, they worked to earn money for their uniforms by cake sales, car washes and odd jobs. The uniforms, which were designed by Cricket Hayes, brighten halftime activities. Adding much spirit to football games and pep rallies, the Drill Team has been very worthwhile to MHS.”

Ms. Cooke directed the Mavettes for 15 years before retiring, and the team has seen a total of 14 directors over the ensuing 35 years. But one thing that has not changed is the commitment of working toward being one of the best, most-recognized high school drill teams in the state.

As the yearbook entry states, coming off the much larger pep squad, there were just over 100 young ladies in the very first squad of Mavettes in 1968. In 2018, the team consists of 32 Mavettes, which includes 27 line members and five officers.

“My Mavettes are some of the most disciplined, respectful, fun and talented young women that I know,” Hill said. “They don’t back down from the challenges that life brings, but strive to do everything with excellence. Mavettes teaches you the meaning of hard work, the best things in life come to those who work for them, and to leave every practice a better dancer and person than when you walked in.”

The tradition of excellence continues. This past February, the Mavettes earned a “Sweepstakes” honor at the American Dance and Drill Team competition held at Kilgore College in Kilgore, which is home of course to one of the most famous drill teams in the nation, the Kilgore College Rangerettes. The Mavettes also won top awards for categories such as Officer Jazz, Officer Lyrical, Officer Contemporary, Team Jazz, Team Contemporary and Elite Hip Hop, among many others.

Just like the original vision, the Mavettes continue to be a year-round dance team with a schedule that does not stop with just football season.

“Mavettes don’t have an offseason,” Hill said. “As soon as football season is over we start working on dances for basketball season, competition, Spring Show and various community performances like the opening ceremony of the Wonderland of Lights.”

The big celebration of the 50th Anniversary year of the Mavettes will be at the annual spring show, scheduled for April 26-27 in the MHS auditorium.

“With it being my third year (as director), it has been a joy to watch the girls who were new members on the team my first year grow and mature into the seniors on my team this year,” Hill said. “They are very special to me. It is such a joy to be their director. Nothing makes me more proud than watching these girls perform. But even better than that, is watching the women they are becoming, and knowing what great things they will continue to do long after they leave this organization.”