Friday, January 29, 2010

'The Ballad of Miss Kay': The story of a time and a team

Miss Kay and the 1961 Cranberry High square dance team with one of its trophies.

At an all-class Cranberry High reunion this past summer, former championship dancers--in their 60s and 70s--took to the floor for a do-se-do.

Blue Ridge Country magazine has a story in its current issue by Dan Smith, founder of the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference and editor of Valley Business FRONT magazine, about the woman who coached the square dance team at his remote, rural high school for more than 35 years. She won a number of state titles and two national championships at a school with about 350 students between 1948 and the early 1980s.

Smith was one of her students in 1964 and watched the square dance team then in amazement at its strength and grace--partly because almost all of its members were athletes in other sports, some Smith's football teammates.

It is a remarkable story of a time and a place where this could unfold and did, concentrating on a woman of strength, determination, talent and skill who was never paid to coach and never spoke a word of complaint that she didn't. Kay Wilkins--Miss Kay--taught and coached for the love of it.

You can read the story in full here.

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