Making their debut from Pierce Middle School to Merrillville High is the Purple Reign Step Team.
“I decided to bring the Purple Reign Step Team to MHS because I felt like the students needed a place to be creative, to be themselves, and a safe place,” said Ms. Elizabeth Hardy, coach for both teams. “I didn’t do it for myself and not even for the ‘love of step,’ but I did it for them. I did it for every student who can come to practice after a long day of school and use step as an outlet.”
Coach Hardy acknowledges the hard work and dedication that each student puts forth and that’s what inspired her to bring the program over to the high school.
“I love every moment of being with my teams,” she said. “I love how they love to support each other and spend time with one another. Watching the high schoolers become big sisters to the middle schoolers is simply amazing. To sit back and watch the bonds be created and grow brings tears to my eyes.”
Earlier this month, the team had their first performance during half-time of a JV basketball game.
“The performance was nerve-racking because it was the first time in three years, but overall a good experience,” said Junior Jasmine Edwards, a team captain who is back with the team after participating at Pierce.
Edwards enjoys the social aspect of the team.
“I’m building relationships with other people that I normally wouldn’t even talk to and getting the chance to actually sit down and get to know them,” she said.
Junior Journey Pleasant, who also was on the Pierce team, also returned.
“Stepping definitely helps you be more centered, at least for me,” Pleasant said. “[It] keeps me a little bit calm going through the motions. It definitely gets your memory going because you have to remember 15 million different things at the same time, whether it be a hand movement, or a head movement or a certain rhythm.”
Pleasant enjoys stepping so much, she hopes to continue for several years.
“I just like having fun. It’s fun to dream. It’s a hobby. It’s something I hope I get to do in college,” she said.
From the way she talks about her teams, it is clear that Coach Hardy is fond of her girls. Seeing the sisterhood and love between both teams is truly something special. Not only are these girls unlocking a new talent but they are gaining relationships in the process.
“Every single student that came to me and asked me to be the step coach inspired me,” she said. “I saw the passion and love for step in their eyes, once I saw that I knew that I had to step up to be the coach.”