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Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

From Practice to Performance: Winter Guard’s Passionate Pursuit of Perfection

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Courtesy of Jimin Han
Color Guard is an extreme time commitment, with students giving up mornings for rehearsal, weekends for competitions, and Wednesday afternoons for practice. “Some people say color guard is not a sport, and that it’s so easy,” color guard captain and junior Jimin Han said. “I want them to know that I really put my heart and effort into the sport.”

As winter’s icy chill settles over the campus, the gymnasium fills with the warmth of vibrant flags and rhythmic music in preparation for the winter guard season — the time when students transform dance, acting and passion into a symphony of colors. 

Winter guard is an indoor extension of the color guard season that combines flags, sabers and other equipment with gracefully choreographed dances. Although winter guard officially begins at the end of second semester in February, preparation begins early so students can master spinning skills and footwork, according to Alice Sim. 

Creating a compelling performance demands more than just physical prowess; it also requires confidence in acting skills and the ability to execute exaggerated movements that distinguish their lines, according to color guard coach Rebekah Daigh. 

“Field season is about big and bold movements, while winter guard focuses on technique and excellence and execution,” Daigh said. “In winter guard, the audience is about five to ten feet away from the performers, so facial expressions and characterization of body movements must be more articulate.”

Due to the rigorous nature of color guard, members have created strong bonds with each other and quickly integrated new members into the team. These relationships extend beyond practices, being integral to the team’s dynamic and energy. 

“For colorguard [we’re] especially close to each other, because we practice during weekends too,” freshman Alice Sim said. “We always have afternoon practice and we have things we communicate with. The juniors and seniors, especially on the first day, kept asking us questions and kept trying to talk to us. It was great.”

By celebrating each other’s successes in learning new skills, the team quickly created an atmosphere of community, working together to improve their spinning skills and expressive storytelling. 

“It’s all about the atmosphere,” color guard team captain and junior Jimin Han said. “I feel like what we’ve been doing this year is a big leap from what we were doing before, so I’m really looking forward to what we’re going to be able to achieve this season.”

Color guard requires students to reflect on their abilities and constantly strive to learn new skills, according to Han. Although they are aided by coaches and returning athletes, they must apply what they have learned to competition performances. 

“As cheesy as it sounds, I as a coach can give them the tools, but they have to be the ones to pick them up and learn how to use them,” said Daigh. “I can honestly say that the perseverance and dedication these kids have displayed is awe-inspiring. They understand that the choices they make have a direct impact on their success or failure, and every day they make the conscious decision to improve.”

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About the Contributors
Olivia Ganes, Staff Writer
Olivia Ganes is a staff writer for her first year on the Portola Pilot. She’s excited to see the different types of stories and issues her and her fellow members produce this year. Her favorite part of the Pilot is taking pictures of sports events. When she’s not stressing out trying to finish her math homework in the last 10 minutes of class, you can find her listening to Daniel Caesar on full blast in the back of the room with her best friend, Nina.
Mia Jong, Centerspread Editor
Mia Jong is the Centerspread Editor and Features Photo Editor for her second year on the Portola Pilot. She loves to create, whether it be with a paintbrush and canvas or a pen and paper, and she can’t wait to write more stories with her fellow Pilot members. In her free time, you can find her chucking onions in the game Overcooked, scrolling through StackOverflow forums to fix her code, creating sticker designs, and watching Pixar movies. She believes everyone has a unique story to tell and hopes to give a voice to the Portola community through her writing.
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