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Fontana Unified High School Majorette Team, First in Inland Empire, Makes Historic Debut

The Summit High School Majorette Team

FONTANA, CA – The excitement rose to a fever pitch as the Summit High School Majorettes stood to deliver their first dance routine backing the Summit High marching band during the Summit-Carter football game on Sept. 15, with students, parents and staff roaring their approval as they watched an inspired performance of hip hop, jazz and modern dance in a debut that made history.

The 27-student SkyHawk team is the first Majorette team in Fontana Unified history and the first organized high school team in the Inland Empire.

“Majorettes is a platform at Summit for young girls to express themselves and to provide a safe place for them to feel comfortable and be their true self,” Summit Majorette Team Captain Sha’Niyah Chambers said. “It’s a bittersweet moment to see our vision for a Majorette team come to life, but knowing we have made history as the first Majorette team in the Inland Empire is something we are very proud of.”

During the 2022-23 school year, Summit High biology teacher Dr. Sabina Glover was approached by Class of 2023 graduate Carmelita Spencer, who was looking for more options on campus for dancers to express themselves. Glover, who was born and raised in Georgia, recommended the girls start a Majorette club, and embrace dancing traditions that are hugely popular in the South and have been made famous by pioneering performers at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).

“I’m a Southern girl, I was a Majorette before I even started kindergarten,” Glover said. “We are creating a sisterhood for these young ladies. It has already transformed the lives of many of the families involved, and has really helped students find a platform for their creative gifts. I am so grateful for our parents, who are so excited to see this. They are doing everything they can to make it successful.”

Summit High School senior Grace Ese leads a dance routine

Though the club was a success, its future beyond the school year was in doubt. After parents of returning Majorettes held a meeting with Summit Principal Renee Castanon and Director of Multi-Tiered System of Supports Ayesha Brooks, just prior to the 2023-24 school year, the Summit Majorette team was born, with Glover as its coach. Summit High music director James Sharp immediately welcomed the team as the newest members of the SkyHawk marching band.

“I am incredibly proud of the Majorettes for their unwavering commitment and passion,” Castanon said. “Their dedication is truly commendable, and it’s the driving force behind the team’s success. May their journey be filled with success, growth and unforgettable moments. Their hard work deserves all the applause, and we’re here to support them every step of the way.”

For Summit parent Kenya Gray, the Majorette team has proven to be a blessing for her daughter, sophomore Kalani Gray, who struggled to find her identity at school until she joined the Majorettes. As a member of Summit’s first Majorette team, Kalani is part of a tight-knit group of dancers that have direction and support, as well as opportunities to explore academic and career pathways.

“Kalani came to Summit from a different school district and her first year was hard. I urged her to keep trying, to find a club or activity that resonated with her,” Gray said. “Kalani loves to dance, and she has really found herself through the Majorettes. She has so much more confidence now and has met many new friends. I’m so proud of her.”

The Majorettes have had an immediate impact on campus. As the newest members of the Summit High marching band, the Majorettes will accompany the band to all its performances, including football games, competitions and seasonal shows. Upcoming performances include the Western Band Association’s inaugural marching band competition at SoFi Stadium on Oct. 23 and the Fontana Christmas Parade on Dec. 9.

“This is a tremendous achievement and a significant milestone for Summit High and Fontana Unified,” Superintendent Miki R. Inbody said. “It reflects the dedication and commitment of our students, parents and administrators at Summit High to provide unique opportunities for our scholars, and a source of pride for the school and the entire Fontana community.”