By Arcadia Unified Digital Communications Intern Kate Fletcher
Bright red flags swirling high in the air can be spotted down Arcadia’s Louise Avenue as the Dana Middle School Drill Team prepares for its competitive season with a fresh face at the lead: new Drill Team director, Joseph Kidd.
Kidd trains the Dana Mariners with the same approach and passion as he does Arcadia High School’s nationally recognized Color Guard team, which recently took home second place medals at the Southern California Color Guard Championships this past April.
After graduating high school in Georgia, Kidd joined Lulabel Independent, where he got his first job as a color guard instructor at Newton High School. “Ever since I was introduced to color guard, I just knew there was something special about the activity,” Kidd said. From then on, Kidd has taught schools in Georgia and California, until he finally landed in the city of Arcadia.
Every minute counts for the Dana Drill Team, as each practice consists of only 35 minutes every Tuesday and Thursday. With over 35 students, ranging from 11 to 14 years of age, Kidd admits that “it takes a lot of focus on my part and determination on theirs to make the necessary progress as we enter into the competitive parade season.” However, no obstacle is too difficult for these performers. “Middle schoolers are fearless,” Kidd said. “They are so young and quite inexperienced in the activity that they don’t know what can go wrong. Therefore, their performance anxiety is low, and their willingness to try new skills is very high.”
Color guard teams have two competitive seasons throughout the school year. During the first season, bands and color guards join their efforts to create a show that captivates the spectators through sight and sound as they go down the parade route. The second season stretches from February to April, and color guards compete individually against other color guards, where competitions take place indoors in a similar yet different sport called “winter guard.” This winter season, the Mariners will be the first Arcadia middle school to have a competitive winter guard. Kidd is most excited about the new students that will join the winter guard world. He hopes that more students will love the unique sport that color guard is and that they feel pride representing Dana Middle School at all of their competitions.
After competing in Baldwin Park on Saturday, Nov. 2, Dana captains proudly accepted the second place trophy. The Mariner Drill Team will make its next appearance at the Arcadia Festival of Bands on Nov. 23 alongside the Foothills, First Avenue, and Arcadia High bands, as well as compete in their last parade of the season in Pomona on Dec. 14.