The Student News Site of McCallum High School

The Shield Online

The Student News Site of McCallum High School

The Shield Online

The Student News Site of McCallum High School

The Shield Online

Stepping out of their comfort zone

After performances on campus and at the Austin ISD PAC, the Knight Steppers headline the Black History Month assembly at Bagdad Elementary in Leander
Shayla Allen
Now in their second semester, the Steppers say they have come a long way since their first performance back in November. They are more cohesive and can learn new routines in less than half the time. They also have build a sense of community on the team that has led members to buy in to the group.

The Knight Steppers took their show on the road Friday morning performing live at Baghdad Elementary in Leander. The opportunity came through the encouragement of McCallum teacher Deborah Gardner who encouraged principal Monica De la Garza-Conness to invite the Steppers to perform as part of the school’s Black History Month assembly.


The Knight Steppers will be performing what freshman member AJ Brown called “a timepiece going all the way back to the beginning of time for stepping.” There will also be a Black History Month student panel discussion and the winner of the Black Girl Magic art contest will be announced.


There will be three assemblies on Tuesday: fifth period, sixth period and eighth period.


The McCallum Arts Center


Teachers need to sign up to attend and bring their classes to the MAC.


Dr. Leonard Moore, who presented a lecture on Feb. 7, stresses the importance of increasing one’s cultural intelligence by learning about the perspectives and experiences of people from different backgrounds. “Black history’s essential. It’s essential. I don’t think you can function without knowing it.”

The Knights will perform for Black History Month a little closer to home this week when they will be part of a Black History Month triple-threat event on Tuesday in the MAC. The Black Girl Magic art contest winner will be announced and there will be a @macsoca student panel discussion. There will be a BHM assembly in the MAC during fifth, sixth and eighth periods for classes whose teachers sign them up to attend.

Since their debut performance at the pep rally on Nov. 3, the Steppers have grown a great deal according to two members of the team: AJ Brown and Paityn Jones.

“We’ve gotten closer,” Jones said. “It’s easier to come up with new step routines.”

Brown agreed with that take.

“Our team has evolved so much since October,” he said. “You can see the difference from then and now. It’s easier to come up with steps and stay in sync.”

He said that it takes less than half as much rehearsal time for the team to master a new routine. What used to take a month, now takes a week or two.

More importantly both steppers say their involvement in the team has meant a great deal to them.

“This team has given me a lot of discipline, and I have learned to commit to something,” Brown said. “I’ve also learned how to work with different people in a different group. It’s really amazing.”

Jones said her involvement has made her a part of something bigger than herself.

“It’s given me a family at school, and a community I can turn to if I need anything,” she said.

As for what’s next for the Steppers, Brown pointed to Tuesday’s Black History Month performances in the Mac.

“We will be performing along with the panel and doing a timepiece going all the way back to the beginning of time for stepping,” he said.

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  • J

    Jaxon OchoaFeb 22, 2024 at 1:50 pm

    I like that they covered this issue because I’ve heard a lot about this and wanted to know more information about what the knight-steppers are and this article helps with that.

  • P

    PiperFeb 22, 2024 at 1:47 pm

    I love that this group was recognized and that they get to show other kids younger than them what McCallum has to offer.