The life of a drill team member consists of waking up at 4:30am three times a week in order to get to practice on time. The Highline drill team has always had a history of practicing before school at 5:30am and the current 2019-2020 has continued to practice before school.
Ahn Thu Tran joined the drill team in 2018, this is her second year on the team. At the start of her second year she tried out to be an officer of the team and was placed into the lieutenant position for the 2019-2020 season.
For Ahn Thu a typical week looks like waking up on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 4:50am in order to get ready for practice at 5:30am. Practice lasts about two hours. On Mondays and Fridays Ahn Thu heads down to Highline College for her first class at 8am, Psychology 101. After her first class she goes to her history class at 9am. Then she ends her day at school by going to organic chemistry at 10am. Once she is done with school she usually goes home to do homework or get some practice in on her dance routines for drill. On Tuesdays and Thursdays Ahn Thu gets to sleep in a little since there is no practice, and on these two days she picks up her boyfriend around 7am to go to school. She goes to her regular classes just like on Mondays and Fridays. On Wednesdays, Ahn Thu has practice at 5:30am, after practice she goes to school and attends her first two classes, but instead of 10am organic chemistry she has a two hour lab that starts at 12. She ends up going home around three in the afternoon.
Once she’s home from school, she eats and starts working on her homework. “Wednesday is my longest day.” says Ahn Thu. Once the weekend comes a long she gets to sleep in unless she has a competition on Saturday, and those tend to be all day long. On Saturdays she works on homework or sometimes goes out with friends. Lastly, on Sundays Ahn Thu goes to church and spends time with her family.
A typical week may seem crazy right now but when it’s competition week the team typically practices everyday of the week. This means no time to sleep in until after the competition is over. A competition week generally looks the same but with less sleep and more practice. Dance competitions are always on Saturdays and they run all day long. Ahn Thu usually wakes up around 6am to do her makeup for the day. She goes to school to meet up with the rest of her team at 7am . Once she gets there the coaches check everyone's bags to make sure that everyone has everything they need for the day, this includes costumes, food, etc. After everyone gets their bags checked, they run all of the routines and clarify any last minute questions before heading out. The team leaves at 8am and arrives at the competition at roughly 9am. They do their floor time for all three routines before actually performing them in front of judges. The rest of the day consists of practicing, stretching, eating, and of course performing. After everyone at the competition has performed, every team participates in drill downs and the award ceremony. Once all of that is over they get on the bus to head home. During the bus ride home Ahn Thu and the rest of the officers talk about the scores and who is going to receive the spirit animal that day with the coaches at the front of the bus. Before getting off the bus they announce the scores and the winner of the spirit animal. The team gets home at around 6 or 7pm and Ahn Thu gets home at around 7:30pm. Once she’s settled in at home she takes a shower and goes to sleep.