Lake Highlands High School senior Alice White is a double threat. As a talented singer and dancer, she’s the only Highlandette captain ever to perform as a member of the school’s pop choir, Espree. As leader of the drill team, members look to her for leadership and inspiration. As a high-profile senior on campus, incoming freshman watch how she manages to keep all the balls in the air.
White began dancing at 3, the “girlie-girl” who loved dressing up and accessorizing in pink. She played on sports teams with friends but gave those up by the age of 9. She focused on dance and dreamed of becoming a prima ballerina. She recalls the day Highlandettes showed up to perform at Moss Haven Elementary.
“I remember seeing girls that were tall like me and those sparkly uniforms and high kicks,” says White, “and promising myself that when I got to high school, that would be me one day. For the rest of elementary and junior high, I would stay in the stands during half time to admire the Highlandettes.”
Since that day, White has learned the truth – there’s more to the squad than Friday Night Lights. They dance at school pep rallies, and the elite high kick team performs at smaller community events throughout the year. They dance at basketball halftimes and win top awards at competitions across Texas. They perform on a team trip each year, traveling to dance in front of the U.S.S. Mississippi at Pearl Harbor last year and the San Antonio Riverwalk the year before that. They host Dancing with the Dettes for elementary kids and a Highlandette Hopefuls clinic for junior high and freshman girls.
Remaining organized is White’s biggest challenge, since Dettes and Espree require big time commitments. She’s taken courses over the summer to free up her school year schedule, and she shares tips with underclassmen who struggle to “do it all.”
“I recommend keeping a planner and actually using it,” says White. “When you’re in a lot of organizations it’s easy to forget your actual schoolwork on a daily basis. Communicating with your teachers is also super important when you’re involved in lots of things, because most of the time, they will understand.”
Coronavirus, too, presents obstacles for White, who plans to study Music Education at Southern Methodist University in the fall and become a choir director at a Texas school.
“Singing is difficult this year,” White says. “We have to be extra spread apart and wear face shields as well as masks when we sing. As of now, there are no live performances for Espree or choir in the upcoming months, but hopefully we will get to perform at some point before the school year ends.”
Highlandettes summer camps also were canceled or virtual, and their first practice on the football field was a week before school began. They missed performing at last year’s Red White game, and they’ll skip traveling to away games this season. Most community events have been canceled, too.
“The hardest thing for our team was being thrown into the year with little preparation. Things were very unsure during the summer, and we didn’t get a lot of time to prepare for our upcoming season, but with lots of hard work we are ready for the upcoming football season.”
If White seems to have a worldly perspective, she has good reason. She’s American-born with an English dad, which qualifies her for dual citizenship in the United Kingdom. He filled out her paperwork when she turned two and – Bob’s your uncle – she became a Brit.
“I’ve been to England many times and I’m actually planning on visiting at some point this year or next, hoping that the coronavirus will not keep me from visiting. I have a lot of family over there, and I love to visit them as often as I can. Visiting England is lots of fun, but to me it’s less of a tourist attraction, and more like simply going to visit my grandma a few streets over, however it just happens to be overseas.”
If you’d like to watch White and her squad perform, LHHS plays Plano East this Friday at 7. The first tickets go to parents of players and performers and the second round goes to students, but there were tickets available for sale to the public last weekend. The UIL ruled that stadium capacities are limited to 50% due to the pandemic. You can check here beginning Thursday to see about purchasing tickets. Go Cats.