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Color guard starts with a thread

March 21, 2006|by KYLE LEFLER

As members of the Boonsboro High School Indoor Guard spin their flags at practice and in competition, they can be proud to say that they made the flags themselves.

After the fall marching band season drew to a close on Nov. 13, the 23 members of the BHS marching color guard had nothing to do for two months until the end of the semester. While marching band members began to rehearse concert music, color guard members began a study hall.

This year, Sally Poole, an instructional assistant at the school, was in charge of their study hall. She decided to switch it up a little. She asked the band director if she could teach the girls how to sew. She knew that indoor guard competition would start on Feb. 11. The guard would need plenty of flags; perhaps they could make their own. Poole also considers sewing to be a helpful life skill.

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The band director agreed and the sewing classes began.

"We started with learning how to operate the machines," Poole says.

At first, 23 girls shared two machines. Eventually, they acquired eight more. They learned the basics, practiced for a while and then began to sew their own practice flags. They learned all the intricacies of sewing a flag, including hemming the edges and creating a pocket for the pole.

Sophomore Danielle Wyand already knew how to sew, but she enjoyed the class nevertheless.

"It was fun because we got to hang out with our friends," Danielle says of the experience.

When they finished their first flags, each girl signed her name to her flag, claiming her creation.

Then they were ready to begin the challenge of sewing their show flags - 33 of them - which had to look professional and perfect. The girls shared sewing time for the 90-minute class periods, and more than half of the flags were finished by the end of the semester. The rest were in different stages of completion.

"The flags that we made are pink-and-black overlapping fabric. They are supposed to look crooked," says Lacey Gabriel, a junior. "We also made some black ones with pink diamonds on them."

Sophomore Emily Moffatt says she had fun taking the classes, although she says she missed "sitting in the band room listening to the band rehearse holiday music," as the guard did before the classes were offered.

Poole recalls that the girls laughed about their experiences, although the sewing was sometimes frustrating for the girls who did not know how to sew or had little patience.

Junior Alex Kirk, who did not know how to sew prior to the classes, says the machines were part of the problem.

"I was definitely frustrated," she says. "The machines kept breaking!"

But on the whole, the class went well, according to Poole.

"It was a great experience for all," she says. "Some of the girls loved it, some were very challenged by it, others persevered ... never wanting to touch a sewing machine again."

The girls really accomplished a lot in the little time they had. Danielle says she had a memorable experience concerning the flags at their first competition.

"These girls came up to us and said how much they liked our flags," she says. "They said that their school couldn't afford flags like that, but we just told them we made them."

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