Dedication and teamwork paid off in trophies for students from Sterling Silver Studio last month. A group of 16 twirlers and dancers, ages 6 to 19, represented the Superior studio in the national America's Youth on Parade competition at the Notre Dame University in Indiana July 22-26.

"All of our teams placed in the top 10, which actually floored me," said coach Carolyn Nelson-Kavajecz. "It was pretty amazing." During the national baton twirling and dance line competition, she said, the students are typically in an age category with 40 or 50 other kids or groups.

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The pre-teen dance line team placed second in the nation. The poms team earned a fifth place finish, the senior dance line won sixth place and the halftime team placed seventh. The pre-teen twirlers, who placed first in state competition, won seventh place in the nation and the senior twirlers placed 10th.

"As a coach I could not be more proud," Kavajecz said. "It is an honor to be a part of a team that is a shining example of what hard work and positive attitudes can accomplish. It is great to see small town kids accomplish big time dreams!"

A number of students also earned recognition for individual events. Traxx Kavajecz, 8, of Superior won second place in the Men's age 7 to 9 National Solo Championships. Two Superior students, Zoe Schnell, 10, and Emily Cahill, 18, won the titles of Juvenile Miss Majorette of Wisconsin and Miss Majorette of Wisconsin during state competition two weeks previously. Both girls represented Wisconsin in the national pageant at America's Youth on Parade, but did not make it into the finals.

"I think it's cool for them and our small town that two of the representatives were from Superior," Kavajecz said.

The last time Sterling Silver Studio competed at America's Youth on Parade was in 2004. The decision to bring these students was based on their level of commitment and parental support.

The 16 students worked for a year on their routines. As soon as school let out for the summer, training kicked up a notch. They practiced from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. four to five days a week until the competition.

"Then the talent came right along with it," Kavajecz said. "Their performing ability and talent comes from the fact that they have a positive attitude, work hard and are focused on the team, not themselves."

It turned out to be a winning combination.

"I told the kids just go, have fun, it's a learning experience," the coach said. "I think they did so much better than they expected."