The award-winning student group, Hip~NotiQs Step and Dance Team, took first place during “Drill-a-Rama,” the New York State 2015 Drill Team Competition earlier this year in Buffalo, N.Y.
The Hip~NotiQs competed in the step division, winning with a performance featuring an epic Power Ranger battle in which the rangers “stepped” up to defeat evil. About 30 teams compete for top honors each year at Kleinhans Music Hall.
“We were really excited and nervous about the competition because, as a group, we’d never done it before,” says Maryum Raheem ’16, who was a tri-captain during the spring semester. “Starting off as a group of five people and not really being well-known on campus to winning a first place trophy and having over 100 people sign-up for try-outs proved to us that our hard work is really paying off.”
At the time, Raheem and fellow team’s tri-captains Deborah Kwansare ’16 and Nicolas T. Stewart ’15 implemented a vigorous training schedule that included both regular and competitive practices in order to establish a team that would participate in the championship. They practiced three to five days a week.
Team members of the winning squad also included Jedidiah Collins ’18, Gail Quintos ’17, Brian Tosado-Prater ’17, Mohammad Daajneh ’16 and Jasmine Gonzalez ’17.
Stewart, now an HWS Presidential Fellow, had competed in the Drill-a-Rama event several times when he was younger, and introduced the competition to the Hip~NotiQs.
“When we received first place I was surprised, but I think it was well deserved considering all that we had gone through in the process,” Stewart says.
The growth of Hip~NotiQs would not have been possible without funding from the student governments’ Budget Allocations Committee, the offices of Student Activities and Intercultural Affairs, cultural clubs, and students, faculty, and administrators.
“For me, it was bitter sweet because I was able to lead the team my last semester before graduating,” Stewart says. “Now, as the adviser for the team I can say that things are just getting started.”
A video of the competition performance can be found here.