The Reflection

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Feature baton twirler Erika Hubbard shares her story

Gull Lake Marching Band has recently adopted Erika Hubbard as the Band’s feature twirler, a position that has never before existed in the Gull Lake Band. Baton Twirling is a common position in many Marching bands across the world. Hubbard was taught and given this position by Color Guard coach Marleigh Burris last spring. 

Though this is a coveted position, Hubbard was fairly new to the activity only started less than a year ago, but her skill grew quickly.

“I wanted to do it because our guard coach is a former WMU feature twirler, and I fell in love with watching twirling through her,” Hubbard said.

Despite the changing times inflicted by Covid-19, she said she worked hard during the Covid break and was excited when she got the call from Branden Burris, the Gull Lake band director, telling her she would be Gull Lake’s first feature twirler.

Hubbard may not have been involved with twirling for long, but she said has become a prominent part of her life.

“Baton twirling has become very important to me in the past year,” said Hubbard. “I feel both empowered and peaceful when I twirl.”

On Gull Lake High School’s football field, Erika Hubbard begins as the new feature baton twirler for Gull Lake’s Marching Band. Photo by Kaleen Morris of Kaleen Morris Photography

For the most part to participate in any hobby and perform consistently and well relies on motivation.

“I am often my own motivation, because I believe in myself,” Hubbard said.

She said this confidence and passion allowed her to excel and perform highly in such a short amount of time.

Along with this motivation and passion, having a strong and reliable role model helps many people perform well in activities they participate in. Hubbard’s is her mom. She said her mother is “unbelievably strong.”

“Her support and love means everything to me,” Hubbard said, “and it’s amazing to watch how my mother goes through her life and does everything (including parenting and her job) with grace and beauty, all while being an amazing and compassionate human being.”

Though she performs highly and excels in twirling quickly, Hubbard is not unlike any other person. She too has struggles she must face while she goes through life and perfects her twirling.

“I struggle with getting overwhelmed by everything in both school and life,” and Hubbard goes on to explain that she overcomes these struggles by “pushing myself through the way I feel when I’m overwhelmed, and taking breaks as necessary.”

Hubbard said she is rewarded through her effort and time put into baton twirling through her given position as feature twirler, and through “the peace and happiness” it brings her. She said she desires to continue this hobby at least through high school.

“I’d love to keep working on it and compete,” she said.

Hubbard spends a lot of her time practicing twirling, but it is not the only component of her life. She is academically a high performing student at Gull Lake High School, and she also plays Mellophone in the Gull Lake Marching, Concert and Pep Band. She is interested in a future focusing outside of twirling.

“[After highschool] I want to go to college and get my nursing degree, then go to a specialty program to become a nurse midwife,” said Hubbard.

Hubbard’s addition to the Gull Lake Marching Band begin twirling as soon as the marching band performs at football games or performs its pregame show. Though Covid has made things more difficult for everyone in every situation, Hubbard said she still finds comfort and happiness in Baton Twirling.

“The world seems like a much simpler place when you’re focusing on something you love,” she said.

Author Profile

Anna Clinton
Anna Clinton
Hello, my name is Anna Clinton and I am a Junior at Gull Lake High School. I have always had a passion for writing and love to implement that passion into journalism. It is my second year as an editor in the newspaper, but I am excited to start another year on the team!

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