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In her own words - Penny Shockley

Coach Penny Shockley, back right, has a deep love for the Pioneerettes.

Nobody cares more about the Pioneerettes than coach Penny Shockley. While we did our best to convey what it meant this season in our story last week, there is nobody that to could tell the story than Shockley herself. Here are her words about a special group:

Honestly, there are not enough words to say about this group. This group started during the middle of a pandemic. Their clinic was on Zoom - their tryouts were virtual. Their first practices were through Zoom and Google Classroom.

We did not get together as a group and actually meet each other until July. They were out to prove something from Day One! They were on a mission and set their sights high from the start.

They did not get to go to a traditional camp and build those bonds with one another. Ironically, they did not need that...their bond was something special from Day One! The seniors wanted to make everyone feel like a family and they did. They embraced their team, realizing that those younger teammates were vital to the program.

The team listened when we told that "We is greater than me,” and that we have to dance for the person beside us as much as we dance for ourselves. I always try to tell the team that, at the end of the day, a judge has an opinion and that opinion impacts the scores of a routine. All I have asked all year is they do their best.

If they were happy with themselves and they did everything I asked them while they were on the floor, I would be pleased. When they came off the floor on Saturday and Sunday (at NDA Nationals), they knew they had left every second of their blood, sweat and tears on that floor. I knew it too and could not have been prouder.

They accomplished so much but the biggest reward for me is seeing the family that has been created through this different time in their lives. They could have easily given up but never did! They pushed forward, harder and stronger, to be the best - and they truly are! I could probably write a book about this team but will stop here!

Placing at both state and nationals is one of the best feelings I have ever had! They worked hard all year to perfect their craft and two routines that have entertained our crowds all year. The reaction of the crowd, the enjoyment of the audience, and the cheers from the crowd have been so enjoyable for the team. Those crowd reactions are what keep the team motivated to do better the next time, and the time after that.

The Pioneerettes had a great showing at NDA Nationals.

Entertaining Warren County and spreading spirit for our teams is what we strive to do, while consistently preparing for our competitions. Those awards and accolades are amazing but the accomplishments of this team go far beyond that. This team has memories that will last a lifetime. I think they have learned the true value of teamwork and working hard to accomplish a goal. As a coach, my goal is to always put the best possible performance on the floor while helping these teenagers grow into responsible adults that understand the value of being a part of a team.

I do not know what to say about these seniors. They have been a joy to watch grow as dancers but more so as adults. They have shown extreme leadership with grace and humility. They have led from the front and the back. They have helped their underclassmen gain confidence and realize that working hard for a goal is a lesson that will far surpass their time in dance.

These five young adults have worked hard so their teammates would work hard for them. They understood from the start that they had to have those younger dancers as strong as they were to be successful this year. They built them up and helped them grow. They knew what they wanted and got the others on board so that all were working for a common goal. By staying focused, they kept their team focused. They recognized each other's strengths and built on those to be a strong senior group for their team.

Coach Penny Shockley was very close to this year's seniors.


It was never about one of them, but all of them. The team could tell that these seniors were there for them always and the underclassmen were there for the in exchange. It was a beautiful thing built this year! These seniors lost many things but did not let it stop them. They came out on the other side of those losses stronger than ever!

My pride runs deep for every member of this team, not because of the awards they have won or the things they have done, but for the team they are and always will be! Every group takes a piece of my heart with them. This one takes a little bit bigger piece.

This year is quickly coming to an end. They perform for the last time as a team at the baseball game on Thursday, April 29. The next week we have our tryout clinic for next year's team and we will start new. I am excited to see what this next team brings to the table but sad to see this year come to an end.

I will not say goodbye to this team...only see ya later! I love you tons!

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