MHS senior Upbeat receives top dance honor

By Lindsay Devereux | A&E Editor

Senior Shannon Boatright is literally dancing through life. Boatright is a leader on both the MHS Upbeats dance team and cheer team and has been dancing since her freshman year in high school.

“I knew as soon as I started that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life,” Boatright said.

Her leadership and dancing skills have progressed over her high school career. Boatright takes her responsibilities as senior captain for this year’s Upbeats very seriously, and fellow team members appreciate her work ethic.

“I think she’s a great captain, and she’s really inspiring,” freshman Hayley Engel said. “I admire her so much.”

Engel is not the only one who admires Boatright. According to history teacher and Upbeats coach Debbie Brown, she is respected by her peers.

“Shannon is a very happy, positive person,” Brown said. “She loves people and is very accepting. The main thing about her is that she doesn’t stereotype people and will do anything for anybody.”

Boatright has also received several awards for her skill. Last summer, she was awarded Miss Thunderbird at Thunderbird Dance Camp, an award three out of about 400 dancers receive, in addition to a trophy and an All-Star award. The Upbeats attend Thunderbird every year, yet the Miss Thunderbird has not been won by a Marshfield student since the mid-1990s.

Though Boatright knew she had a chance to receive this award, she was very excited when it happened.

“I definitely was hoping to get it, but it still was a big deal,” Boatright said.

It was a big moment for her teammates and coach, as well.

“It was really exciting to see Shannon get the award,” Engel said. “It’s given every year, but it normally doesn’t happen to someone from our team.”

This is the first dancer Brown has coached who has received the Miss Thunderbird title. In her 11 years, she has led the Upbeats to two state titles and two state runner-ups. However, Brown refuses to take all of the credit for that success.

“I think coaches take too much credit,” Brown said. “The dancers have had all the success, not me.”

Boatright has high aspirations for her future. She plans on attending Cornish College of Arts and majoring in Dance. She said she has plans to own a dance company one day.

“It’s not that dancing makes me feel a certain way,” Boatright said. “It’s that I have found something I love to do.”