A 30-member corps of twirlers, trained and sponsored by the city's Department of Parks and Recreation, walked away with high honors at an international baton twirling contest at the University of Notre Dame last week.
Competing against 76 groups from as far away as France, England and the Netherlands, as well as from cities all over the United States, the San Gabriel Twirlers Baton Corps sailed through long-rehearsed routines of synchronized dancing and twirling to be judged the outstanding corps of the championship event.
The Headliners, a small dance team composed of six girls from Mission, San Gabriel and Temple City high schools, also won first place as the best senior small dance team. The Headliners are Patricia Gillen, Tina Moya, Kelly Lynch, Leilani Prieto, Colleen Schoelz and Raquel Allen. Their teacher is Esther Hensley.
The girls prepared for the event for two years, said Parks and Recreation Director George Kotchnik. In that time, parents and students raised $30,000 through rummage sales, pizza nights, a newspaper drive, a banquet and other events. Most of the money went towards sending the students, along with 10 parents and a truckload of equipment, to the six-day competition in South Bend, Ind.