By Don Bolding
Killeen Daily Herald
Despite the threat of icy weather, more than 2,000 people came to the Killeen Civic and Conference Center to watch students from five area high schools honor a great man's legacy by competing in the fifth annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Step-Up Fest.
Troupes from Copperas Cove, Killeen, Shoemaker, Ellison and Harker Heights high schools performed dances and skits to illustrate what Dr. King said and did.
"We intend this as building blocks for youth," said Dominique Bullock, chief executive officer of Jaguarr Productions, which organizes and hosts the event. "This is Olympics for kids who don't go out for football, basketball or other sports. They express what Dr. King meant by his words and actions."
First, second and third place trophies awaited winners picked by a panel of judges made up of community professionals. The teams also received cash prizes of $300, $150 and $50, respectively.
The judges were Wanda Reynolds, assistant principal of Eastern Hills Middle School; Fanny Minnitt, owner of Fan Minnitt Arts, Gifts and Fashion, and assistant principal of Live Oak Ridge Middle School; Chandra Shields-Charles, assistant principal of Mexia Junior High School; Carolyn Brown, owner of Obsessions by Carolyn; Auby Cullars, dean of students at Shoemaker High School; Army Capt. Derrick Murray, representing Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity; and Army Sgt. Antonio Purnell, representing Omega Psi Phi.
Several college and professional fraternities and sororities had booths at the event. Army Maj. Karel Butler of Kappa Alpha Psi said, "These groups are made up of all races, trying to get away from the old pledge-and-rush system to emphasize giving back to the community. We're here to talk to these young people and show them what they can look forward to if they want it."
Maj. Butler said his fraternity was "97 percent military," but Bullock emphasized others have doctors, lawyers and all sorts of professionals.
The dance form "step" combines elements of military drills, jazz moves and hip-hop beats with rhythmic clapping, slapping and stomping. Young people would dance a while and then stop to mimic encouraging themselves and each other to be well and do well in life.
Contact Don Bolding at firstname.lastname@example.org