Nicole Johnson and Andie Leeds, both 17, are two of 125 students chosen nationwide to perform with the marching band during the halftime show of the bowl game, which is an east versus west showdown of high school football athletes. The game will be played at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, on Jan. 5, 2013.
The two four-year color guard members were recognized during a ceremony Wednesday morning at Pope in front of soldiers, school teachers and administrators, coaches, friends, family and students from Pope’s music program.
“I’m thrilled to death,” Johnson said of the honor. “It’s humbling because there are so many people out there who are trusting you to represent the school.”
Her parents, Philip and Beverly Johnson, attended the ceremony along with Johnson’s two older sisters and grandparents.
“I feel like everything I’ve ever worked for is finally being recognized and maybe people will actually start seeing guard for what it is instead of saying, ‘Oh, it’s those girls with the flags,’” Nicole Johnson said. “It’s so much more than that, and it’s amazing to be able to represent that and to embody it.”
Johnson and Leeds sent in their audition videos last spring after attending a Winter Guard International competition in Ohio last April.
“We wanted to expand our horizons a little bit because we’ve only ever participated in color guard in high school,” Leeds said.
She is the daughter of Dr. Elke Leeds and Rick Leeds of Marietta. The Pope student’s grandfather, Ralph Meyo, who also attended the ceremony, is a World War II Army veteran.
Leeds said she and her best friend filmed the tryout video in her backyard in early May.
“We had to do a certain amount of tosses on rifles … We had to do flag basics, too,” she said.
Johnson and Leeds found out over the summer that they were selected to participate in the bowl game and will find out if they’ve been selected to be a part of the rifle portion of the color guard in December.
“This is a great example of two students who came in and worked incredibly hard for their entire time thus far in the program and will continue working hard throughout this year,” band director Gary Gribble said. “They have had that perseverance and that dedication and have set standards extraordinarily high and that motivates other students. We are very proud to be a part of this today.”
Johnson and Leeds are just two of seven Cobb students selected to participate in the band or football team in the bowl game.
Tyren Jones and Brandon Kublanow from Walton High were selected to play for the east on the football team. They will be recognized at their school today.
Michael Korwek, Dennis Korwek and Samuel May from Hillgrove High were chosen to play in the marching band. They will be recognized Friday.