By Emily Peraza
Featured Performer from Freedom High School (Orlando)
This amazing sport of the arts has completely changed my life and allowed me to grow alongside amazing individuals that have spurred me on to do great things. The relationships I have established in my 3 years of being in the Freedom guard program are the strongest bonds ever and I will take these performers with me wherever I go. I keep in contact with the alumni from years ago, and we catch up regularly and they always lend a helping hand when I need advice or a different point of view!
These performers will be my bridesmaids and they are like family to me, and they have been with me through thick and thin. I was in a very toxic friend group my freshman year, and they helped me find myself and appreciate me for all my faults and pitfalls. I love them all to the moon and back, and I would drop everything to help them. And these bridges extend out of my high school too; the alumni in Pegasus and UF’s program still check in with us, and I cannot count how many acquaintances I have made at competitions just through gushing over costumes, a show, or comparing work and our love for colorguard.
It is so liberating to find so many like-minded people all gathered together joking around, lip syncing to the music in the gym, and eating food outside. These teammates are my study buddies, shoulders to lean on in hard times, listening ears, and my personal comedians! All of my friends are through colorguard and FFCC events, and they light up my world and truly give meaning to my life. Along with the members at my own school, Timber Creek and Cypress Creek are Freedom Orlando’s “sister schools”, due to the fact that we have some of the same coaches! These teams are also rather close to us and we love to cheer for and motivate each other.
My coaches have also been amazing mentors and Ms. Philor is a role model to me, as I can always come to her classroom if I feel upset about something or to joke around after school. Seeing such talented and strong individuals around me allows me to adopt a growth mindset and the urge to be just like them when I am all grown up. Especially now, I never tire of seeing their wonderful faces and hearing their boisterous laughs.
I am eternally grateful for the amazing culture the guard nurtures and how FFCC has allowed my teammates to meet others and bring amazing groups together to create a loving community of spinners and performers.
Learn more about Emily’s season here: