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Indianettes hope trip to honor veterans becomes holiday tradition

December 20, 2018

Coach Christine Cattell wanted to get the Cleveland High School Indianettes more involved with the community.

With the holiday season in full swing, the Cleveland dance team loaded up and made a visit to the Houston National Cemetery on Dec. 15.

The Indianettes helped lay Christmas reefs on the graves of several fallen soldiers to honor them for their service to the United States.

“They were really excited when I told them what we were going to be doing — once I went into full detail that we were going to honor soldiers from all branches of the (military),” said Cattell, who has been the dance instructor at Cleveland High School for seven years. “That’s something special that we all enjoyed doing.”

The Indianettes dance team includes Abigail Kelley, Olivia Slayton, Stacie Montesnieto, Leslie Ordaz, Kynnzee Choate, Brittani Nelson, Kayla Griego, Fernanda Medina, Karen Saldana, Aleiza Padron, Mayra Salazar, Melinda Delagarza and Marisol Valdez.

Cattell said she was impressed with the team’s tact while they arrived on site and interacted with other veterans who were honoring their friends and family members.

“It was a very moving experience for me to watch my team,” Cattell said. “As I watched the team talk with other veterans about how they lost a friend or loved one it really started to hit me. The girls were interacting with them and giving their condolences. You could tell that they were excited to recognize those veterans at the cemetery.”

Over 1,000 people were in attendance, but there weren’t enough reefs for all of the fallen soldiers. Cattell said the team has made plans to return next year and provide more reefs.

“This was our first time going, and it will not be the last,” Cattell said. “We want to get the ROTC involved and the cheer squad involved too. We plan on having a fundraiser to help make the reefs since there weren’t enough for everybody. We want to be out more in the community of Cleveland as well. We want to perform for people in the community, and we want to help out where we can. I think this was a great experience for the team, and we look forward to helping the community in the future.”

marcus.gutierrez@chron.com

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