PARKERSBURG - It was a dream come true in July when Lily Wright of Parkersburg was named Drum Majorettes of America's 2015 Senior Majorette Queen of America.
Years of hard work and practice paid off as Wright, 16, took home the senior advanced twirling title. She couldn't be more proud to be representing Parkersburg and West Virginia throughout her reigning year, she said.
Wright began twirling at the age of 3 as a member of the River City Twirlers under the direction of D.J. Haynes. When she was 6, she joined the Victory Twirlers, a local twirling ministry supported by Fairlawn Baptist Church, and she is still involved as a volunteer coach.
Lily Wright, 16, of Parkersburg, was awarded the national advanced twirling title and named 2015 DMA Senior Majorette Queen of America.
In 2005, Wright was accepted into the Galaxies as she started working with her longtime coach, Gail Bordner from Hickory, N.C.
Wright had her first lesson with DMA Gold Seal judge, "Miss Gail," when she was 5 years old, attending a summer twirling camp at Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina.
Wright and Bordner began working together, as student and coach, when Wright was 8 years old and joined her competitive individual twirlers "The Galaxies." The team and coach helped Wright to progress and eventually achieve her goal of becoming Senior Majorette Queen of America, she said.
Wright competed in six aspects of the DMA National Contest held in Charlotte, N.C. These included interview, interview modeling, evening gown modeling, talent presentation, solo technical twirling, and fancy strut (a combination of marching, ballet, dance and twirling).
During her week at nationals, she not only won her overall title, but she was named the Senior Twirl Off and Senior Strut Off Champion. Wright received a total of $1,000 in scholarships to the college of her choice.
DMA Senior Majorette Queen is an advanced twirling title. Only top advanced competitors from across the nation compete for the title as they must first qualify throughout the year by winning a local or regional twirling title.
"What we're really excited about is that in the 67-year history of DMA, I am the first from West Virginia to be crowned queen. I am so happy to represent our beautiful state this year," Wright said.
During her time as Senior Queen, she will represent West Virginia by traveling to various locations, including North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Tennessee, Georgia and Pennsylvania.
Wright is a junior at Parkersburg South High School where she is a 4.0 student and the vice president of the Class of 2016. She is the recipient of The Golden Horseshoe Award and a two-time winner of the Nathan Prize.
Wright is a member of the National Honor Society and Parkersburg South's Academic Advisory Council. She is active in the Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, and is a third-year Feature Twirler for the Parkersburg South High Marching Band.
"I am so proud to be a part of such a wonderful school. I am blessed with so many teachers, mentors and friends who have encouraged me along my way," Wright said.
It takes a team of friends and specialists to fulfill a life-long dream, she said. Wright wanted to thank the many people who helped her achieve this goal, including Gail Bordner (coach), Doug Hess (sound), Scott Kassel (sound), Lori Carpenter (seamstress), PACE (talent attire and dance), Julie Morgan (wardrobe), Alison Cullen (choreography), Victory Twirlers (equipment and support), Spin City (Charleston, W.Va. twirling team), her Galaxies teammates, New Harvest Community Church, and all of the teachers, friends and Parkersburg community who have encouraged her as she pursued her dream.
"I would also like to thank God who has blessed me with a wonderful extended twirling family and given me so many amazing relationships here in Parkersburg and across the twirling nation," said Wright.
Wright said she will keep working hard to improve her twirling skills and continue to make Parkersburg proud.
"My immediate goal is to enjoy this fall season with my band as we present our show 'Dead Men Tell No Tales.' I also really want to enjoy this year traveling and performing as DMA Senior Majorette Queen of America. Then next year, I will be back in the gym working to fulfill my next goals of achieving the last DMA twirling honor, Elite Queen, as well as finding a great opportunity to twirl on a university football field."
Lily is the daughter of Eric and Misty Wright from Parkersburg, the sister of Marina Wright and Tyler Wright, the granddaughter of Judy Sellers from Parkersburg, and the granddaughter of Ramon and Sally Wright from Williamstown.