Former Huntington Highstepper Addie Howard was recently named a captain of the Tyler Junior College Apache Belles.

“It feels great to represent Huntington,” Howard said. “When the captains strut onto the field at each game, they will announce that I’m from Huntington, and it makes me feel proud to represent my small hometown.”

Howard has been dancing since she was 4 years old. She danced at the Academy of Gymnastics and Dance, Susan’s Studio of Dance, on the Huntington Sparklers in middle school and the Highsteppers in high school. She was a lieutenant for two years and captain her senior year in the Highsteppers.

“My mom was actually one of the first members of Highsteppers at Huntington,” Howard said. “I always looked up to her, and she would talk about how much she loved dancing. So I tried it, and I fell in love with dancing and drill team.”

Howard said she has wanted to be an Apache Belle since she went to a football game in the sixth grade and watched them perform. Being a captain for the Belles was a dream that she never thought would become a reality, she said.

“I fell in love with their style and class,” she said. “My director, Miranda Clifton, has always been a big role model in my life, and she was an Apache Belle. She encouraged me to pursue my dream of trying out for Apache Belles and later trying out for dance captain.”

While the main purpose of a drill team is to entertain at halftime during a football game, Howard said there is so much more to it.

“It’s so much more than just dancing and providing entertainment for halftime. It teaches you so much like discipline, respect and so many life lessons that you’ll need,” she said. “Drill team has taught me so much and has shaped me into the person I have become today.”

The Apache Belles is a lot like the Highsteppers, but there is more responsibility and discipline because it is at the collegiate level, Howard said. As she accepts the role of one of four dance captains, she will be accepting more responsibility, as well. Howard said her favorite part about being an Apache Belle is the legacy and traditions.

“These traditions have been passed down since the beginning of Apache Belles in 1947, and it is so neat that I get to experience those same traditions 72 years later,” she said. “And there’s nothing like strutting onto the football field at halftime while the band plays ‘Great Day.’”

Howard plans on pursuing a degree in dance and becoming a dance instructor.

Grace Juarez’s email address is grace.juarez@lufkindailynews.com.