Former SKHS drill team members planning reunion

South Kitsap High School drill team members perform during a parade in Port Orchard in the late 1970s. - Courtesy Photo
South Kitsap High School drill team members perform during a parade in Port Orchard in the late 1970s.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

A reunion is set for May 17 for all members of the South Kitsap High School drill teams from 1951 to 1998.

The gathering is planned for 6:30 p.m. at the Port Orchard Yacht Club.

Joy McFate Lee, who is heading the reunion, said some of her closest friends are former drill team members.

“We talked about how much fun it would be to get everybody together again,” Lee said. “Then last year, one of our very dear friends from our drill team passed away unexpectedly.”

That’s when Lee decided to plan a reunion for former drill team members.

“Nobody’s getting any younger,” Lee said. “Our friends are starting to have these sad things happen to them. So it was time to make it happen.”

Lee, who was a member of the drill team from 1975-78, lives in Houston, but spends a month each summer with her family in South Colby.

“Even though I don’t live there, I’m still pretty well connected there,” she said.

Lee said drill teams were a part of the high school for 47 years. In 1999, the drill team changed into a dance team.

“We were the drill team members who had the white boots, marched in parades and did more precision-type drill team performances,” Lee said.

She said more than 600 women have marched in the drill teams during the 47-year period.

“It’s bigger than what I envisioned at first,” said Lee. “I got me excited when I thought of it as a community history because we have a wide range of women who had that experience on a drill team. It was memorable for many of us.”

Lee said there has been class reunions, but never a drill team reunion. She has been in contact with some of the drill team advisors from the 1970s and 1980s.

Laura Nieman, a member of the drill team from 1976-79, said women attending the reunion will come from all over the country to participate.

“I had the great privilege to be a member of the SKHS marching band and drill team during my high school years,” said Nieman, who lives in Oklahoma City.

Lee said all attending members will walk as a group in the Bremerton Armed Forces Day Parade with the SKHS marching band.

After the parade, the women will head to the Port Orchard Yacht Club for the catered reunion. Tickets will be made available for the event.

“We’re going to re-live events, look at memorabilia and pictures and even practice some routines we actually remember,” laughed Lee.

It will include “before and after” photographs, old photographs, scrapbooks and original uniforms.

“It will be an evening full of fun and laughter and reminiscing,” Neiman said.

For more information about the reunion, visit, or contact Lee at 713-303-5725 or by email at


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