Carolynn Torve Williams is a junior Drill Officer at Timberline High School in Lacey, Wash. She led her team to an Excellent rating in the category of hip hop this year at State Dance and Drill and placed first in the prestigious Drill Down category, a chance for all participants to follow military drill commands from a judge until there is only one participant left standing. Williams is the recipient of the April Student Spotlight.
Taking home first in Drill Down at State was one thing, but Williams also took home first in the event at Timberline’s earlier Lakes competition this year, as well as receiving “all American” status at USA dance camps each of the last two years. She has accomplished all of this with only three years of competitive dancing under her belt, starting a freshman.
“The learning curve was really an inspiration,” said Williams. “All of the freshman I entered with, two had danced before and I hadn’t. Having all of these talented gymnasts who have been dancing all their lives was really great to see. To be able to watch them take in the choreography and commands was inspiring.”
Before she had joined dance, Williams didn’t feel she had many people in her life that she could easily connect with. That changed when she joined the team as a freshman.
“With dance and drill, everyone is there for the same reason, it’s easy to connect. It’s nice to feel like a part of something and be able to connect without even talking, dance is so emotional and you’re putting everything out there.”
Without drill in her high school career, Williams doesn’t know what school would have been like.
“I would have gone through the motions of class, homework, sleep and repeat. I don’t know what I would have done with myself,” she said.
Aja Dale, one of Williams’ coaches, has been with her since the beginning.
“Carolynn is not only a star dancer, but a star pupil,” Dale said. “She understands that in order to succeed in dance, she must also succeed in academics. The school-life-dance balance she has created for herself is very admirable.”
Williams has been a member of the National Honors Society since her freshman year and is currently pursuing her AA through Running Start while still taking classes at Timberline. She is hoping to move on to a four year university upon graduation and work towards a degree in social work, helping homeless families and children find housing.
With William Timberline has become a regular sight at the State competition.
“We’re trying to show (students) what we can do and when we perform, we want them to be proud of us and understand how much work goes into it," Williams said. "We surprised them a few months ago with our military (Beyonce) and they were kind of feeling it.”
Described by Dale as “determined, passionate and humble,” Williams has worked hard to get where she is, and will work hard to bring Timberline back to State once again next year.