Hawketts debut at Viera High sporting events


Members of the Viera High dance team known as the Hawketts pose with sponsor Sandy Spence. The team was formed in a true grassroots campaign and has been performing at various school events.

VIERA VOICE Courtesy of Viera High School


It started out as a simple conversation, grew into a grassroots campaign complete with a more than 200 signatures on a petition and now …

The Hawketts are ready to rock.

“We weren’t sure if people were going to be interested,” Viera High sophomore Maggie McMahan said of the reaction to Viera High’s new dance team that began performing at school events in September.

“But we got a lot of people that were interested and now we’re actually a team. We have even more people that are like, ‘Oh, that’s cool. We want to join that.’ We’ve had a really good reaction.”

The idea to form the dance team came from a conversation between McMahan and junior Nicole Edwards, who decided there was a need for dance team at Viera.

Their next step was to find a sponsor, and after being turned down several times, they decided to ask guidance counselor Sandy Spence. Before agreeing to it, Spence asked the girls to come back with signatures to make sure there was interest from the student body.

“The students were really open about it, because they like the changes and getting a new team,” Edward said.

More than 200 students signed the petition … and the green light was given for the non-competitive dance team that does hip-hop and jazz numbers.

They put up posters around the school and had tryouts that drew 45 students. From that group, they chose 23 who have performed at a JV football game, volleyball matches and can be seen performing at a soccer game on Nov. 28 and again at the “Dance for a Cure” event held at Florida Tech in January.

Edwards and McMahan are team captains along with Niaiah Hernandez, Taryn Campbell and Lexi Rosenthal.

Other team members include: Briana Aiello; Chelsea Bowling; Alanis Colon-Perez; Manuela Correa; Mackenzie Downie; Danielle Fernandez; Valeria Lopez; Anna Mattessich; Shannon McNiff; Erin McNiff; Sam Perez; Anaya Rhodes; Silvia Rivas; Kyla Rourke; Diane Santiago; Jessalyn Stilla; Zoe Strong and Madison West.

“(My favorite thing) has to be the diversity on the team,” Campbell said. “We have ballet dancers, hip hop and from every background.”

Not only are the girls having fun performing together, but they have already developed a familial feeling among the group.

“A lot of us didn’t know each other when we first started forming the team,” Hernandez said. “There were little groups of friends — of like two people — that knew each other. The team bonding over the summer, we really got to know each other.

“Just going to practice and talking to people every day, you just learn everything new about someone.”

Spence said Viera had a dance team eight years ago, but it faded after one year. With only one senior on this year’s group, the girls hope the Hawketts will be around for a long time.

“I like how we all came together and actually made a dance team and it’s going to last for years,” Edwards said.