Cherokee Charmers Alumni

2012 Celebrating 50 Wonderful Years!


Memories of the First WHS Drill Team

Collectively accounted by Nita Sweatman Jordan, WHS Class of 1962

"We had such FUN initiating the first drill team for WHS. It was on a fall afternoon in October 1960, our Junior year, when I walked two doors down to my dear friend’s house, Janet Forest Tenery, and casually said, “Janet, let’s do something SPECIAL for Homecoming.. Let’s have a drill team at half-time!”… (Like it was “NOT A BIG DEAL” to get all of that together, AND knowing us in those years, it was probably less than TWO WEEKS until Homecoming!). We called several of our friends and they all agreed it would be fun to do something since a lot of our other friends were cheerleaders or in the band and we would be contributing to the half-time as well. So, after discussing the possibility of actually performing, Janet and I agreed that the first thing to do was call my sister, Phyllis, that evening and see if she would teach us a good routing when she came home that week end from college. (Phyllis Sweatman Sulcer was in the WHS Class of 1956, a former Kilgore Rangerette, and was finishing her teaching degree at Sam Houston State.) Phyllis agreed to come home and help us.

So, the next morning we talked to our principal, and with his permission Janet made an announcement over the school speaker saying, “ALL GIRLS who would like to be a part of Homecoming Drill Team please meet in the gym after school.” (Unlike today, ANY high school girl who wanted to participate was welcomed to be a part of the team!) We spread the talk in the halls between classes and… THAT WAS IT!! Enough girls showed up that afternoon to make a drill team and we were excited…we didn’t know what we were doing, but excited! Phyllis came home from college that week end and taught a few of us the routine. She also came back the day before Homecoming and we practiced once more after school. We performed at the pep rally and at the game with the band playing twice as fast as we had practiced!!! Four of us were in front of the line, but none of us can remember just how that was determined, because there were certainly no “try outs” for that… probably because we were just the first to learn the routine!!

Our mothers and grandmothers were more than supportive about all of our “projects” in those days and, although some of them worked, they always seemed to have time to help us. My mom, Juanita Sweatman, and Janet’s grandmother, Halloween Sawyer (known as Mama Halloween to all of us) drove to Dallas that week and got white fringe, wide rolls of green sequined bands for headbands, and white feathers. Mrs. Spradling, was the owner of “The Cloth Shop” which was across the street from the college on Sycamore Street. She agreed to quickly order several bolts of green FELT for our costumes. Mama Halloweeen designed the attire with sewing instructions and my mom typed out “carbon copies” of Halloween’s instructions. These were quickly distributed to those who were participating, and all the moms made or had Mrs. Saunders, Judy Patterson Barnwell’s grandmother, make their costumes… in a HURRY! Mama Halloween arranged for Marchman’s Department Store to order enough leather moccasins (instead of boots) for us so we could wear them later. The “costumes” were complete.

We were certainly NOT like the precision Charmers of today, but when we performed that first night, the fans cheered for us and we had a GREAT TIME! That was truly the beginning of the WHS Drill Team.

Obviously we had no idea that the FELT costumes would ever be needed again. But the “drill team” idea was a success at WHS. So, in 1961, our Senior Year, there are some pictures of us marching in a parade wearing white shirts, green skirts, and CRAZY “oil cloth” flaps that went over our tennis shoes with elastic straps, supposedly looking like boots, but realistically WOULD NOT STAY ON!! Pictures relate that we smiled and marched on anyway!

After our Senior Homecoming, in January of 1962 Phyllis’s family moved to Sulphur Springs, Texas and it was not until August of 1963 that her husband’s job brought them back to Waxahachie. When Ms. Blythe, the girls’ PE coach in those years found out that Phyllis was back in Waxahachie and had been paid in Sulphur Springs to start their high school drill team, she met with the school board and they asked Phyllis to be the first PAID WHS Drill Team Director, making Drill Team a PE credit. The girls on that squad voted and named the team “The Cherokee Charmers”. They even had team and officer tryouts! Mrs. Gray, and Mrs. Middleton, the home economics teachers, actually made the first Charmer “uniforms” AT THE SCHOOL IN THE HOME EC ROOM!!! They were designed by Olivia Burton’s mom and resembled The Rangerette attire, except they were green and white, of course.

After conferring with several of our classmates and my sister, Phyllis, this is how we remember the beginning of the WHS Drill Team legacy. However, the fact is that all of this was a half century ago, and someone else might recall some details differently. We are appreciative of their memories as well.

Times have drastically changed, as you can tell by this accounted history, and many of us have had children in drill teams across the state, dealing with rigid tryouts, drill team camps, long practices, and MUCH MORE EXPENSE!!!

However, our desire is that you, today’s Cherokee Charmers, still have as much FUN as we did, whenever and wherever you perform, remembering WE ALL KNOW that your kick line if FAR better than ours was in the beginning,






Fond Memories from Charmer Alumni

"Being a part of the group that won the National Championship! Upon entering Ellis County our bus was escorted by the Highway Patrol to the city limits where the Waxahachie Police Department took over – lights flashing all the way through town."

-Denise Turner Denk 1971-73


"The “team spirit” of the Charmers; extremely high value placed on performances and kicks over our heads; high standards of lady-like behavior; we benefitted greatly since Mrs. Freeman had the experience of being Kilgore Rangerette."

-Emily Oliver 1968-70


"Drill Team Camps at SMU; Performing at the Cotton Bowl; High kicks!"

-Carlita Huff 1969-72


"Outside of the incredible camaraderie with my fellow drill team members and the exceptional skills and leadership of Kay Freeman I will never forget performing on the field with umbrellas to the song of “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head”."

-Deborah Woody Harris 1969-71


















"Meeting Gussie Nell Davis at SMU Drill Team Camp."

-Jane Hastings Hamilton


"I remember how much I so disliked wearing that RUBY RED LIPSTICK that Ms. Freeman required us to wear, but I finally understood WHY she required it that way… because it had to be that dark for it to even show up when we were down on the field, but I especially remember how Ms. Freeman would walk by each of us, and if the lipstick wasn’t dark enough for her we would be sent right back into our dressing area in our gym and put yet ‘another coat’ of lipstick on! We laughed about that all of the time. Also, The first WHS “Drill Team” uniforms that were made – before the drill team actually became The Cherokee Charmers – back in the early 1960’s – those uniforms were sown by my grandmother Edna “Moma Halloween”."

-Cindy Sawyer Stinson 1968


"The 1968 mudslide."

-Debbie Odom


"Winning the National Championship in 1973."

-Vicki Sims


"When we won First Place at National Competition in Houston. Instead of having a particular representative go down to receive the trophy, we all went. When we got home, there were so many people waiting for us at the school, it was unbelievable. We truly felt the love and support of Waxahachie. I was always very proud to be a part of the Waxahachie Cherokee Charmers and quite saddened when I had to move out of state at the end of my junior year."

-Kim Houghteling Bevels 1971-73


"Life Lessons. Quotes from Mrs. Freeman – favorite quote – Beauty Knows No Pain!"

-Teresa Thompson Wells 1966-69


"When the Charmers won the National Championship competition in Houston. Also, Pam James, our captain was named Star Spangled Girl. A huge honor that still makes me smile."

-D’on Hensley 1971-73


"When I was at SMU camp, I had so many Band-Aids on my feet that my tennis shoes didn’t fit. I remember performing the High Kick on a rainy night at Waco Connally and slinging mud in every direction."

-Marla Shinpaugh Graham 1967


"I really enjoyed the summer camps at SMU. Gussie Nell Davis was our instructor."

-Kathryn Aday


"Winning the award, “sisterhood” at camp."

Sherrie A Fleming 1980-81
















"The excitement of wearing the uniform, dancing in the stands, performing the routines, especially the high kicks and the splits! It was also fun to be so close to the football players and watch the ones we were dating!"

-Karen Adolf Hale 1981-83


"The excitement of Friday night games and performing on the field in front of the crowds."

-Tammy Pope Palomo 1976-79




“The closeness felt among the girls, you go through a lot together and build lasting friendships.”

-Lori Booher Blevins 1976


“Smiling and high kicking through the mud, sweat and tears.. and strutting out on the field.”

-Jennifer C. Nash 1984-86


“Being on the line right next to my best friend.”

-Sheila Bridges Kyser


“All of the fun we had at summer camp and SMU… and on the bus on ‘away’ games.”

-Kathy Morton Armstrong 1990




“The parades and being a part of the community. I also enjoyed the stand dances and Friday night lights.”

-Cynthia Williams 1988-90


“Friendships made, dancing on the field, traveling, and dancing at Texas Stadium for State Championship.”

-Stacy Barton 1991-94


“I remember being woken up early one morning in my house for “initiation”. They took us in our nightgowns through town! So much fun!!!”

-Mary Sias 1989-90


“Seeing that hard work and dedication pays off. The friendships made. 2-adays in the summer.”

-Shelly Wells Smith 1999-01


“Going to Florida and dancing with Goofy. Thursday afternoons in the gravel pit with the band and dancing on the 50 yard line as captain!”

-Cassie Ortiz 1999-02


“Taking the field on Friday nights, chilling in the bathtub in Florida with Cassie Ortiz, our big and lil sisters, making officer, CC&Company, all the great friends that I made and leaving my senior year as 2000-2001 Miss Highkick.”

-Jessica Kelley Gosnell 1999-01



“One of my most beloved memories of being a Charmer is learning a CC&Company dance before a game on the same day. We named parts of the dance to remember it.”

-Shaniece Miller 2000-04


“There’s no way to fit my most cherished memories of Charmers on just one page! The honor of the uniform, the thrill of performing, the magnitude of traditions, the memories with my girls, the inside jokes, the giggles, the tears, the pain, and all of the love… that just scratches the surface of it.”

-Deann Wells 1994-98


“Probably when I made captain at the end of my junior year. It was the culmination of a lot of hard work so it was very emotional for me, and all of my family and friends were there to congratulate me.”

-Jessica Anderson 1995-99

“Traditions – 1) singing school song on the bus when we would arrive at school from out of town games; 2) every year when we played Ennis we called it Ennis night – we would toilet paper our Directors house, but one year she was waiting for us, we didn’t know it and she scared us by spraying us with water hose. It was great and so funny for all of us. 3) Summer camp - especially Officer camp – it was a blast. 4) When giving away officer poles at tryouts to new officers – the older officers perform strut out one more time – so emotional for me. I cherished my time being a Charmer; it was the best thing about high school for me. I got to be around some amazing girls, made wonderful friends and got to enjoy what I loved – DANCING!”

-Jamie Cotton 1994-96


“Being with all of my friends and my mom (director) and the memories we made – Galveston, Orlando, games, practice on the tennis courts and in hot weather, my mom yelling at us with her bullhorn from the tower when practicing with the band.”

-Rachel Fulton 1998-00


“The fun of being a new Charmer!”

-Melissa Mims 1997-00



“Miss Highkick 1994.”

-Rachel Grigsby


“Getting into that precious uniform and getting to perform during half-time, it was so nerve racking!!! Also, practice and performing at competition! Loved being with all the girls.”

-Kealey Gardner


“Friday night football games! The locker rooms, the bus rides, the routines!”

-Erikah Brown 2003-06


“Performing strut-out for the first time as an officer!”

-Rachel Danielle Rockwood 2009-12


“Friday night lights were the best, especially homecoming.”

-Adrienne Munoz 2009-12


“My senior year at officer camp was my most beloved because all 5 of us got along so well. We won many awards and ribbons and all received some sort of individual award. There was not one bad experience and we all had fun the whole time. Many memories were made that week that will last a lifetime.”

-Libby Power 2009-12


“Performing in front of everyone at all the football games! And every second of my senior year on the team meant a lot to me. Especially spring show.”

-Ashria Hernandez 2009-12


“2 a-day practices in the summer! Even though I hated it back then, I realized how much it taught us discipline and to never give up on a challenge. Mrs. Gibbs pushed us to do things we would never imagine being able to do!”

-Camesha Flowers


“Being part of a sisterhood and getting to perform at football games and pep rallies.”

-Priscilla Lambert Tosch 2002-04


“My most beloved memory was being a part of the organization overall. Football games and spring show were always my favorite things.”

-Caroline Roberts 2009-12


“Being as one and becoming a family within the organization.”

-Amanda Martinez 2009-12


“Football season! (sometimes the practices) Preparing for the game, stand routines, performing, all of it.”

-Kelsey Songstad 2010-11


“Spring show 2005, being awarded the senior charmer of the year award.”

-Larissa Lynn Villanueva Bonilla 2002-05


“There are so many memories from trips, contests, pep rallies and games… it’s hard to pick the most beloved one! One of my favorite memories is a simple one and from my sophomore year. In the stands at each football game I sat towards the top with my childhood friend, Jessie Woodruff in front of me and close friend, Kara Smith to the right of Jessie. That little triangle of friends was the best and our friendship only grew closer and filled with more inside jokes only we will ever understand. We laughed so much and shared so many memories from stand routines, cheering, and smiling until our cheeks hurt!”

-Micah Price 2006-09


“Becoming friends with girls who are still and will always be my sisters!”

-Melisa Zavala 2008-11


“I loved all of my girls, but what I loved most was the football games on Friday nights. The fans, the band, the dances, they were all great memories!”

-Heather Schrome 2010-11


“My most beloved memory of being a Charmer was spring show and performing kick routines, because it gave me a very confident and excited feeling to perform in front of an audience.”

-Alejandra Aviles 








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Cherokee Charmer Directors Cherokee Charmer Directors (109 KB)
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