Go Texan Day 2
Home Up

The Duchesne "All-School" Go Texan Day

So finally the "Big Day" arrived. On Friday, February 23, I went and bought a Stetson hat for the occasion. I figured it would make it easier to spot me. With my black hat and black vest on, I thought I looked like JR Ewing. But would I have his luck or would someone shoot me?  It seemed a tossup at the time.

My first event was to watch the Lower School Go Texan Day program. Every year Ms. Everett along with some help from Ms. Gleaves puts on a dance event which involves girls from Pre-K all the way through 4th Grade. 

Indeed it is these dances which I have chosen in place of my own to hopefully save the All-School event later in the day. I got to the gym at noon in time to see my lovely daughter Sam dance in her final year of the Lower School program. As always we waved to each other. I beamed with pride as she performed. This is one of the many reasons I love this school. Duchesne gives me chances like this dance to love my daughter and appreciate how hard she tries to please me.  ;-)

After the performance I gave Sam a big hug and she returned to her class for an hour. Now the hard-working PE Staff and I did some last minute preparations. As I have said earlier, without their advice and moral support, I would have thrown in the towel. They worked just as hard as I did to give this event its best chance of success. And now as D-Day approached, these ladies appeared to be just as curious as I was to see if this was going to work. 

As the students strolled in at 2 pm I was surprised to notice how calm I felt. I honestly thought my new plan would work, but I also knew the possibility of a complete fiasco existed too. My attitude was that I had done the best I could and if it didn’t work, I was still going to be a good sport about it.

The Dance Begins

After a couple of announcements, I climbed up the volleyball stand and asked the Middle School and the Upper School to leave the bleachers. Quickly 400 girls lined the floor. It was quite a crowd!! 

I noted with satisfaction that there was room for everyone in the school to be out on the gym floor at the same time. I said a silent “thank you” to the Great Dance Teacher in the Sky.

I told the girls a corny joke, then announced the first dance. Without giving them time to discuss it, I turned on the music to the "Fast Cotton Eyed Joe" line dance. The Middle School didn’t need any encouragement. Their Stimulus = Response reflex kicked in the moment they heard the music. 

They instantly launched into joyful dance!! 

Pleased that the Middle School had indeed reacted as expected, I carefully watched the reactions of the Upper School girls. A few of them remembered this dance and joined in without hesitation. But 3/4ths of the group just stood there watching. Three things were surely going through each of their minds. 

  1. Can I do this dance?  
  2. Is this just way too “un-cool” for me to participate in?  
  3. Should I stay or should I go?

The "Fast Cotton Eyed Joe" wasn’t a hard dance to figure out, but would they try??  My heart skipped a beat and I crossed my fingers.  Over 150 HS girls were still just standing there doing nothing but watch the 200 Middle School girls and about 50 of their fellow Upper School girls dance. Then about 30 left the floor and went back to the bleachers. Uh Oh. The remaining 120 alternated their eyes from the dancers to the bleachers to the dancers to the bleachers. The success of the event hung in the balance.

My catastrophic fear was a large number of the Upper School girls would instantly make a beeline for the bleachers and just sit down. Then the Herd Instinct could kick in. The other girls who weren’t sure what to do would take the easy way out and join them, creating a buffalo stampede of rebellion. 

I breathed a huge sigh of relief as my prayers were answered. The High School girls decided to stay and give it a try. About 20 seconds into the song the “undecided” girls started to dance. Many of them got behind a Middle School girl and tried to copy their moves. The Upper School had decided to join the Big Dance. Whew!!

The most dangerous moment had passed. The enthusiasm of the Middle School girls carried the day as we hoped it would. They inspired their older, more “cool” conscious Upper School classmates to join the fun.

The All-School Dance had begun!!

We Almost Have A Disaster!!

Things were not perfect. On the Line Dances, not everyone went the same direction. Some groups went West while on the other side of the floor groups went East. The good news is they were dancing. I was willing to sacrifice my sense of dance purity for my gratitude that they were Dancing. Besides, consistency is hobgoblin of simple minds. Who cares if they all go the different directions? 

The five line dances went well. The Lower School girls like my daughter’s 4th Grade plus the 2nd and 3rd Graders were just itching to join in as they watched from the sidelines, so eventually the teachers gave them permission to join the pack too. Critical Mass had been attained!! The gym was a veritable sea of energy!

However we weren’t out of the woods yet. After the five line dances it was time for the group dances. It was obvious to me there was no way we were going to reform into 38 neat Families. The 600 girls were completely mixed together. They couldn’t have even seen the "Family" signs if they wanted to.

I decided on the spot to ad lib. Our best chance for success was to have the whole school do the “Cotton-Eyed Joe” at once. So, using the microphone, I encouraged the teachers to help the girls form Cotton-Eyed Joe lines. Unfortunately the classic C-E J concept of the “Spokes on the Wagon Wheel” was lost on the girls. It took the teachers quite a while to form up the lines. From my high vantage point I was able to call out to teachers I knew by name to handle a disorganized area. 

The teachers were a blessing!! They really pitched in to help make this dance a success.

Finally it looked worth a try. I turned on the music. OH NO!!

The far end of the floor was moving Clockwise while two-thirds of the floor was moving Counter-Clockwise. The Right Way Group and the Wrong Way Group looked like Roman Phalanxes from the movie “Spartacus” moving towards each other to engage in battle!!  Visions of battle scenes from the “Gladiator” and “Braveheart” flashed before my eyes. It was time to do something STAT!

I did a smart thing – I turned off the music seconds before the soldiers met!!  I mean, the lines were actually headed right at each other and no one appeared willing to stop. Good grief!

With the music off, I realized I am the only person in the room with a view good enough to see what went wrong. I am the Sky Patrol Traffic Director!  Using the microphone, I asked some teachers to move into the troubled area to turn the girls around. Thank goodness no one was hurt!

Okay, time for Take Two. On goes the music again. This time everyone is going in the right direction, but….OH NO!

The right side of the room doesn’t know how to turn the corner. Instead they are marching straight into the bleachers. What is worse, the girls from behind are about to smash the girls in front right over the edge of the front bleacher. There is a huge chance someone is about to get hurt. I am the only person in the gym who can see this disaster developing and actually do something about it. Again I turn off the music. I holler, “Stop! Stop!”

The first line of girls barely avoided getting pushed over the edge of the bleacher. The teachers nearest the problem quickly moved in to re-organize the girls. They realigned the lines into more of a “Circle” than the “Square Box” we had before. 

Since no one has gotten hurt, I just had to laugh. What a hoot!  Here we are constantly lurching on the brink of disaster, but at the same time everyone is having a great time!  There are clearly some guardian angels keeping an eye on us.

Okay, time for Take Three. The Third Time is definitely a charm. We now have 700 women out on the floor Hook-Kicking away to the beat of the music. 

As I watched the giant Wagon Wheel circle the floor, a grin crossed my face as I spotted a celebrity. Sister Dunn decided to join the Cotton-Eyed Joe too. What a brave lady!! 

It was all quite a sight to behold!  

The Beer Barrel Polka

I looked at my watch. We actually had time to try the Beer Barrel Polka. I asked the girls form two enormous concentric circles around the gym. The Big Kids were on the outside facing in at the Little Kids who are the inside circle facing out. It looked good.

Then we formed two smaller concentric circles inside the first two circles. From there, the remaining girls formed a dozen other Circles of their own which are much smaller and more intimate. There was no space left on the floor!!  

But like the mighty Loop 610, if everyone kept moving in the right direction, this should work.

I had everyone practice for a while to my voice. The Middle and Lower School all knew this dance and they were teaching the Upper School. Everyone was laughing so hard!!  

Sometimes the High School girls got down on their knees to clap-clap-clap little Pre-K girls. Other Kindergarten girls don’t know how to “chassez”, so the Big Kids picked them up and carried them!!  The little girls scream with glee! 

I was so happy I had tears in my eyes. It is obvious these girls really love each other!!  

There is no doubt in my mind that this place has a big heart and school spirit in wonderful abundance!  I suppose the teachers see it on a regular basis, but it was especially touching for me to see this as a "parent"!

Now it was time for my practical joke. Instead of the goofy Hornpipe fiddle music we usually dance the BBP to, I added my favorite prelude where the Las Vegas guy says:  “Welcome, Ladies and Gentlemen, to the Main Event. Let’s Get Ready to Rumblllllle!!”   Then came some flashy disco-style introduction music followed by “Are you Ready for This??”  The girls are all wide-eyed and worried. Even the teachers were knotting their eyebrows and staring at me. What on earth is going on??

Finally after the flashy 20-second intro, the goofy fiddle music came on and the girls realized I have played a trick on them. They laughed, and then exploded into the Beer Barrel Polka. For 8 minutes 650 girls danced together in pure joy. It was an amazing display of spontaneous shared energy.

As I watched from the volleyball tower, I beamed with happiness. From my high vantage point, I was treated to a beautiful panorama of these girls having the time of their lives. Many teachers were dancing too! 

This was way too much fun!! 

Except suddenly in the center I noticed 20 girls just standing there with their arms crossed. They are completely motionless and oblivious to the hurricane winds around them. They aren’t moving at all while 650 girls spin and whirl around them at break-neck speed. From my viewpoint, this point of inertia looks exactly like the Eye of a Hurricane!!  How weird!!

After the dance was over, I asked a teacher about the motionless group that formed the Eye of the Hurricane. I was informed they were “Seniors”, said to be the least cooperative life form to ever grace the planet. I had to laugh. I recalled that I too had the worst attitude ever during my final three months of high school. ;-)

But I didn’t let it worry me. Instead I basked in the energy of the girls who did participate. They had a ball. The All-School Dance could not have turned out better. Thanks to our guardian angels, no one got hurt. The girls loved the dancing and the teachers were grinning too. Everybody had a huge smile on their face.

This had been quite an event. Everyone had more fun than anyone could have ever imagined!


Thank goodness the gym was well built! The collective school spirit of Duchesne Academy was so high I am surprised the gym didn’t just lift off like a giant air balloon!!  I am sure there were definite seismic readings plus waves in the nearby Buffalo Bayou as the entire school rocked the neighborhood!

As I look back, despite all my personal disappointments and extra visits, I am glad I hung in there. I saw so much happiness that day that I often felt my eyes swell with tears of joy. It was very touching to see these girls enjoy themselves so much.

I would also like to acknowledge that one noble man (a brave teacher from the Upper School) who got out there and danced in the crowd. I felt a strong kinship with him although we never met or exchanged glances. It was nice to see at least one other man in this giant sea of Sisterhood. 

After the dance was over, I received many warm compliments for a job well-done. Although I do not remember the teacher who said it, one lady shook my hand and described the event as "Organized Chaos."  I thought that summed it up pretty well. Several others teachers thanked me as they shook the heads in amazement. The comment I heard the most often was, "I don't know how you did it."  Well, guess what, I'm not sure how I did it either! 

I was left with the strong impression that Duchesne clearly at times has trouble telling the left hand what the right hand is doing. Yet at the same time, this school has the amazing ability to pull through and turn a potential fiasco into a gigantic success. 

I concluded that the basic spirit of the school is to pull together at practically every level. No one told the High School girls what to do, but their instincts were to cooperate. No one told the PE Department what to do, but they worked for an entire week helping me train the kids anyway. No one told the faculty exactly what to expect, but at every possible juncture I saw a teacher step in and solve a problem without even being told.  Duchesne isn't perfect, but it also a joy to behold… 

What a day!  What a week!  And to think I even survived to write about it…


The Duchesne All-School Go Texan Day Story
Page One: Introduction Page Two: Preparation  Page Three: The Big Day
Adventures of a Dance Teacher Home Page
SSQQ Front Page Parties/Calendar Jokes
SSQQ Information Schedule of Classes Writeups
SSQQ Archive Newsletter History of SSQQ