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Fort Walton Beach High School Stars Dance Team heads to NDA Nationals

The Fort Walton Beach High School Stars Dance Team departed for Orlando, Florida on Thursday morning to compete in the NDA Nationals, a prestigious national high school competition running from […]

The Fort Walton Beach High School Stars Dance Team departed for Orlando, Florida on Thursday morning to compete in the NDA Nationals, a prestigious national high school competition running from March 8-10, 2024. 

  • The team, coached by Erin Longo for the past 10 years, is determined to make their mark in the Large Varsity Hip Hop category.

Coach Longo emphasized the dedication and sacrifice required from the dancers and their families to maintain their nationally ranked status. “It is truly a year-long sport and they put a lot of hours in, and a lot of sweat,” she said. “A lot of sacrifice goes into being nationally ranked, and that’s our goal every year as a team is to place with the heavy hitters in the large varsity category.”

The 26-member team received a heartfelt sendoff from friends, family, teachers, and Leadership students in the packed parking lot near the gymnasium entrance. The Fort Walton Beach Police & Fire Departments also participated in the farewell ceremony.

Senior Captains Emily Abernathy and Emma Vest, both 4-year Stars Dance Team members, expressed their pride in the team’s progress and dedication. “We’ve put in countless hours of work and just constantly trying to be better. Every practice we’re getting better and I’m really proud of our team. We’ve come a long way,” Abernathy said.

  • Vest added, “I’m so proud of our team and how much work that we’ve put in. It’s definitely been a difficult year but we’re here and we’re about to go get it.”

The team has been focusing on perfecting their new choreography and ensuring uniformity in their performance. “This year, we were given a great new choreography, so we haven’t had too much difficulty coming to the routine,” Vest explained. “We’ve just worked really hard cleaning, so making everybody look uniform is what we need to do.”

Both captains expressed their gratitude for Coach Longo’s hard work and dedication, stating, “We love her! She is the best! She worked so hard for us, and we’re just so grateful for her. We couldn’t ask for a better coach.”

The community’s support for the Stars Dance Team was evident in the impressive turnout for their send off. “It’s amazing to see our community come and support us. I’ve never seen it turn out like this before. It’s amazing,” Vest remarked.

As the team headed off to Orlando, Abernathy and Vest shared their excitement, exclaiming, “We’re excited! Go Vikes!”

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