Distinguished Gentleman


Josh Boone

Dillon Smith and Willie Henderson wait for their turn to perform.

Livy Thompson, ENN Saff

Your idea of a distinguished gentleman is possibly precise, though it may not include a stomping, strolling, and stylish young man from Lake Ridge. During the month of May, students came together to make the  first male step team in Mansfield. Master Sergeant Bertha Middlebrooks, sponsor of Distinguished Gentleman, explains how this organization aids in the formation of a Gentleman.

“DG’s promote academic achievement, unity and leadership within a diverse organization, through teamwork. We encourage self-respect and discipline throughout the community,” said Middlebrooks.

Senior and team lieutenant, Dillon Smith, says he started the group with friends not knowing that he was to become a part of an historic team.

“It all started one day when Master Sergeant actually showed us a step. We stayed after school and worked on a little miniature step, it was terrible, but it was just a small beginning and we started putting in work and practicing together and made a team,” Smith says.

Overtime, the identity of Distinguished Gentlemen developed as they gained aspects of their team from various areas. Venturing out to competitions allows for the boys to experience different styles of stepping and their pep rally showcases their talents here at Lake Ridge. 

“We started building off of the girls, going to competitions then getting ideas, and found ourselves a coach,” Smith said.

Being the first group to set the foundation of Distinguished Gentlemen, the boys recognize their position as an opportunity and are looking forward to the future. Willie Henderson, team captain, cherishes his position on the team to teach new boys.

“It’s great, i’m just happy I can critique other people to being as good as we were last year,” the junior said.

Smith sees DG as an imprint of who he is being left behind as he graduates from high school in 2018.

“Its, an honor. It feels like i’m leaving something behind, something memorable for the high school, kids who come after me, and people I mentor,”said Smith.

They are diligent about their routines and don’t take lightly to it being taken for granted. Adam Shaw, junior, described stepping as non- gendered, but centered on the effort put into it.

“It’s not dancing. It’s not feminine. We go hard with everything we do. You get scored on how you step and not how you dance,” Shaw said.

Smith persevered despite having a shaky start, and motivates others to keep at it as well.

“It’s a lot of fun but it’s a hard task. People who think they can’t do it should try because you’d be surprised what you can do. I had no rhythm but i tried my hardest and put in the work and it all came into commission,” Smith said.

Throughout the school year, Distinguished Gentlemen will participate in pep rally’s, local performances, and also travel to cities to compete against male and female step teams within Texas.