A tribute

Maryville High School dance team performs in honor of lost friends

The Maryville High School dance team performed during halftime of a Friday night basketball game recently, and they did so with heavy hearts.

On Jan. 18, the team members performed a routine in honor of four students who died in automobile accidents during the 2006-07 school year.

The dance honored the memories of Maryville High School students Steven Webb, Matthew Bibb, Matthew Cooper and Matthew Wright, then an eighth grader.

“Two of the boys who passed away (Webb and Cooper) would have been graduating with the seniors, and they wanted to do a dance in honor of them,” Maryville High School dance team sponsor Stacey Travis said.

Travis said the Avril Lavigne song “Slipped Away” was the piece they used for the dance. “It talks about losing someone and how they miss them,” Travis said. “We’re real excited but real nervous. They want it to be so good for the families. This is really special to them.”

Travis said the dance was not an easy one emotionally or technically for the members of the dance team. “The routine itself is very technical. It’s got a lot of turns. They wanted it to be really good so they made the routine hard,” she said.

Travis said the girls had been working on their routine for about six months. Their coach is Courtney Vastine at Artistic Dance Unlimited. They practice twice a week, once on Tuesdays at the school and on Thursdays at Artistic Dance Unlimited, she said.

The dance team competed in the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association competition in December in Murfreesboro, at the Smoky Mountain Dance Championships and on Jan. 27 at a competition in Knoxville.

Senior Megan Blevins, captain of the dance team, said creating the routine was special for her because of the friendships she had with those who died. “Both Matt and Steve were close to me. We wanted to do a routine for them,” she said. “It was really hard because it was very emotional for me.”

Jessica Wright, Matthew Wright’s sister, sat in the bleachers with her parents before the routine began. “I think it was very thoughtful and caring,” she said of the dancers working to create the routine.

Barbara Webb was impressed with the friends her son had. “I didn’t realize how many friends he had,” she said of Steven Webb.

Kathy Bibb appreciated what the girls did. ‘I really didn’t know what to think. I was surprised. It’s so great to think kids still remember,” she said.

Conny Cooper heard the girls were doing the dance routine to honor the boys. “It was neat they still wanted to keep their memories alive,” she said.

Phil Cooper, brother of Matthew Cooper, was on hand for the routine. “I was amazed they would do something. This school has been so supportive of all the families of those who died. I really appreciate it,’ Phil Cooper said.

Brittany Webb, sister of Steven Webb, was appreciative of what the team did. “I don’t want to forget about him. He was my best friend. God has blessed me with a lot of good friends,” she said. “I live for him.”

Megan O’Leary, Matthew Wright’s mother, said she was honored by the routine the girls created. “He was such a good person, a friend to everyone. He was my knight in shining armor,” she said. “Everyone he talked to or met felt that way.”

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