All-State Star

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Memorial dancer Carissa Duke performs her solo at the audition for the All-State squad.

Hannah Teifke, Memorial Staff Writer

Nov. 3, Varsity Pom member Carissa Duke attended tryouts for the most advanced squads in the state, and was very surprised to find out that not only did she make the All-Region squad, but she also passed the audition to dance for the All-State squad as well. 

Dancing for 15 years, Duke has worked hard to have such an impressive honor during her high school dance career. 

“As seniors, you have the option of whether or not you try out, and I always knew that I wanted to try this,” Duke said. “They sent the video out two weeks before the tryout, so we had to learn it and practice it on our own time.” 

Duke transferred to Memorial from another school at the start of her sophomore year, but since then, she has been very well-rounded with balancing her time between dance and school work.

“I admire the fact that she transferred from another school and just jumped right in as a Bulldog,” varsity pom coach Teri Ogle said. “She is a hard worker and is always pushing for more.” 

Being a dancer in general requires a lot of hard work. From her late nights in the studio to the weekends of traveling for competitions, Duke has had support from her family, including her mother, Shelly Duke. 

Despite not being able to accept every social invitation sent her way or join too many extracurricular organizations, she has been as determined as ever to make her lifelong dream of being a high school pom member come true. 

“I was so proud of Carissa when I watched her dance at the All-State tryouts,” Shelly said. “For her to be selected for both the All-Region and All-State Pom teams was truly the pinnacle of 15 years of hard work, and all of the sacrifices and time have been worth it.” 

Memorial’s varsity pom squad is not performing at state this year, but Ogle saw that this would not be an obstacle for someone with such a strong work ethic.

“Carissa knew that this was a goal she had and the fact that the rest of the squad was not going to perform at state didn’t bother her,” Ogle said. 

Through her years of dancing and fulfilling her passion, Duke has become a strong, creative and confident individual that is ready to perform to her full potential alongside the other top dancers in the region and state. 

“I’m looking forward to seeing all of the girls and I’m so thankful for the opportunity just to be able to get to dance with the top 30 dancers and to represent Memorial,” Duke said. 

Duke will be performing with the All-Region and All-State squads on Dec. 14 in Tulsa, coinciding with the Pom state competition. 

 

Contact Hannah Terifke at [email protected]