It turns out the twirling and flag skills a girl learns in high school stay with her throughout the years.

Especially after a little practice.

“As soon as I picked my baton up, it came back,” Kacie Tullis White (‘01 to ‘05) told current Carthage High School auxiliary sponsor Jessica Derrick on Sunday. “I even did a one-turn. I will not try a two-turn though!”

About 50 alumnae from the Carthage High School band auxiliary — both twirling and flag lines — signed up to take part in a special Homecoming performance and fundraiser this week. The group will perform with the current band auxiliary line during Friday’s game against Chapel Hill.

The community is invited to a pre-game reception at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the Carthage High School commons area.

Carthage High School’s band has been in existence for more than 80 years, with a twirling line that was set up more than 70 years ago and a flag line set up more than 40 years ago. Derrick, who performed on the line herself between 2003 and 2007, says the upcoming performance is a way to bring back the spirit of the Carthage High School band they’ve seen throughout the years.

“We basically we want to let the girls see the tradition,” she said.

Alumnae are also helping raise funds for the auxiliary, making sure Derrick and fellow auxiliary sponsor Janet McGough Reddell can make sure their charges have what they need for pep rallies and the like without having to charge the students.

Preparations for Friday’s performance started online, with Derrick and Reddell posting a call for alumnae on Facebook. Those who signed up for the performance learned their steps through an online video and at a special practice Sunday with both current and former auxiliary members at Bulldog Stadium.

Practice kicked off with lots of hugs — and with organizers handing out batons and flags to everyone. Participating alumnae include members from as far back as 1964 to at least two mother-daughter sets: Cindy Deloney (‘84-’88) and Tommie Ritter Smith and White and mother Dana Clark (‘83-’84).

Derrick and Reddell choreographed a simple routine for the performance to make sure everyone would be able to pick it up quickly, and they plan to hold a last minute practice for the entire group right after Friday’s kick-off.

Even after five, 10, 15, 20 or more years, alumnae said Sunday they didn’t find it too hard to dust off their batons and flags.

“I think my skills have always kind of stayed, because you always find yourself twirling whatever’s in your hand,” White said.

They also said Sunday’s practice immediately brought back memories.

“I was just thinking as I walked in of the smell,” Julia Piedra (‘04-’05) said. “Do you remember the smell like when you hit the track and the field?”


Carthage native Meredith Shamburger has worked for the Panola Watchman since 2018. Before that, she worked at sister papers in Longview and Marshall; the Dallas Morning News; and The Daily Voice, a hyperlocal news company in Westchester County, New York.