MELROSE, Wis (WEAU)--Melrose Mindoro High School has a new addition to its athletic department. The school kicked off its first dance season this winter.
"They have come from nothing to amazing and I’m really proud," said Coach Ashley Atkinson.
The program started out as lunch table chatter but has quickly become the latest source of Mustang pride.
"People have been coming up to us and giving us high fives and yelling go dance team," said Mel-Min Jr. Stephanie Pipkin.
From the start the squad has been a community effort.
"We were talking at lunch about how fun it would be to have team, because there was some talk a few years but then nothing ever happened,” said Min Min Jr. Elizabeth Christopherson.
“I was approached by the girls who want to start a dance team. I helped them make a plan and helped them present it to the school board,” said Atkinson.
"That was kind of nerve wracking," said Stephanie.
Stephanie says the school board was supportive but there was no money available for the team.
"The girls were told that there wasn't going to be school money because budgets are already so tight. If they wanted the team they had to do it themselves," said Pam Pipkin.
The team had to raise enough money for a coach, costumes, music and make-up. So that's where local businesses and parents jumped in.
“They were very generous,” said Elizabeth.
The team raised more than a $1,000 through donations, a dance and bake sale.
18 girls, grades 9-12 came out for the team. Adding the squad evens up the number of girls and boys participating in sports at Melrose-Mindoro.
“We had wrestling and basketball. I'm not into basketball so this really opens up a new door for us,” said Stephanie.
“It was really exciting and it made us feel good that we were able to accomplish it,” said Elizabeth.
The dance team didn't compete this year, but hopes to try and attend some competitions next season. The squad will have to fundraise again next year.
Melrose-Mindoro will have two new self-sufficient sports this school year. Its first JV girls’ soccer team will start this spring. Those players will have to fundraise too. The school district says at this time there just isn't enough budgeted for the sport but is happy to help the programs get organized.