BY Molly Congdon
CLIFTON PARK — Five years ago, Shenendehowa’s junior varsity color guard team made its first appearance at the World Championships in Dayton, Ohio.
This year it became the first junior varsity team to make it to the semifinals, finishing 47th out of 116 squads.
Senior Haley Francescone gravitated to color guard in the fifth grade, when one of her friends urged her to tag along and give it a try; that’s when she unexpectedly fell for the flags, footwork and focus that it entails.
Since then, her dedication to color guard has never diminished; now, as a senior on the junior varsity squad, her leadership was key in the team’s success this season.
“Color guard has impacted my life significantly; I’m more outgoing and I’ve built many friendships — it’s a unique activity to have in common where a diverse group of peers come together as one,” Francescone said. “I am super proud of what we accomplished this year, and I couldn’t have asked for a better team my senior year!”
Francescone has lived in the Clifton Park area since birth.
Her parents, Karen and James, work for the state in the labor and human resources fields, respectively.
Like most high school students these days, between school, practice and homework, Francescone finds free time difficult to come by. However, when there is that rare opening, she enjoys spending it with her friends.
In the fall, she will head to Keene State College in New Hampshire to major in education and focus specifically on elementary and special education. “I’ve always wanted to teach,” she said.
As a senior on the junior varsity color guard team, Francescone certainly was able to test the instructing waters, especially since half of the troupe consisted of newcomers.
It was up to an experienced hand to show them the ropes, and she gladly took them under her wing. “It comes with being an older member of the color guard,” she said. “I encouraged them, gave pep talks when needed and helped them along the way. I like the idea of helping people, it gets me excited.”
Five questions for
Q: What is your favorite color?
Q: What can you cook well?
A: Cookies or brownies.
Q: What is your favorite food?
Q: If you could have any pet, what type of animal would it be?
A: A dog . . . or a giraffe.
Q: What was your favorite cartoon?