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West Hall flag corps seniors carry on school tradition for a final season
Flagette Reunion 9-16-group
Former West Hall High School Flagettes gathered for a group photo during the Sept. 16 reunion with auxiliary coordinator Laurie Samples in the middle. The dance program, which started in 1988, will come to an end this year.

Since the beginning of the band program at West Hall High School in 1988, the Flagettes have taken to the field during halftime alongside the instrument-playing members of the Band of Silver.

For 23 years, the team of ladies in their bedazzled uniforms have danced, pranced and twirled their way into the spotlight.

They’ve had a good run, but due to dwindling interest, this will be the last year for the flag carrying dance-line.

"The number on the line has varied over the years. We have had as many as 18, but this year we had the smallest number," said Laurie Samples, who has been the auxiliary coordinator for West Hall since 1993.

"With only 10 girls on line now — eight of them are seniors — we felt this would be a good year (to end the program) so there wouldn’t be many girls affected."

The Flagettes are dance line, but they use props like pompoms, hats, canes and small flags.

"Most bands have just the color guard (that twirls flags) now," Samples said.

In addition to performing at halftime, the Flagettes also travel with the band to competitions and other performances.

"We have performed in parades at Disney World, Macon’s Cherry Blossom parade and Gatlinburg’s Christmas parade," Samples said. "We have also done stand still performances in Washington, D.C, Chicago, New York and Hawaii.

"These are a hardworking group of girls."

Working hard is something that former Flagette Amanda Porter remembers well.

"On Fridays we would perform and then watch the video because we were obsessed about getting it right," said Porter, who was a Flagette until she graduated in 2005.

"Being a member of the team was like being an actor. People enjoy the end performance, but they don’t see how many hours you spend in rehearsal."

The West Hall auxiliary department recently held a reunion to allow Flagette alums one last moment in the spotlight.

"I was really thankful for the opportunity to perform again," Porter said.

"It was nice being able to reminiscence with everyone."

Although she understands the reasoning behind ending the program, Porter says the moment is still bittersweet.

"It made me sad when I found out that this would be the last year. Being a part of the Flagettes really helped a lot of us grow as individuals and leaders. It helped us develop strong character and taught us how to build relationships with all types of people," Porter said.

"It also helped us with our academics. We all looked forward to performing on Friday nights, but we weren’t allowed to participate if we didn’t keep our grades up. So we made sure we did what we needed to do in the classroom, so that we could perform on Friday nights.

"Being a part of Flagettes gave me something to look forward to every week, but there comes a time in life where you have to live and let die."