The 2016 WHGF Gala Showcase

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This year’s gala really blew me away! For some reason I am very emotional. First, it was really, really wonderful.

The students, parents, staff, volunteers, HCZ Staff and guests all made for a truly amazing celebration of community gymnastics.

This was the first Gala held at the HCZ Armory. This facility is so spectacular. We have now done so many events together that the HCZ Staff, led by Darryl Boston and Kiana Terry so contributed to the success of the event.

My staff –oh, the WHGF Staff — you guys were on fire! I always drive them crazy- but they always come through.

Nikki Mills, the WHGF Gymnastics Supervisor, had the brunt of all of the last-minute craziness. Handling so much coming at her left and right- and Nikki loves structure and planning things in advance- so whoa- this event always is on that other side- but she keeps us together.

Halema came in and took care of business in her quiet way and she always does, and Osei (who never likes to be mentioned) did the same – not so quiet – but taking care of what was needed. We had our volunteers on hand to make this event run.

Head Volunteers Dorita and Melissa always just know what to do- along with Christine who always knows where to be. And Larry, our head of security – (with so any parents you need security) and to all who came in to help out–thank you so much!

Thanks to Jedia and Deloris – Team members and Junior Instructors – for doing such a great job with the music today.

Now to my gymnastics teachers and coaches—I salute you indeed. We had so many kids and so much going on. Rehearsal, march out, team performances.When the students marched out I was taken aback at how many were in this year’s show- I mean they kept on coming!

Tamika- Thank you so much for your organization and super positive energy. I was so impressed with the intermediate routine. I know our student and junior instructor Michelle, was the choreographer- but you instilled in her that confidence and and gave her the opportunity to shine. They looked so good in their red.

Aaron, thanks so much for taking care of the sound and stepping in wherever needed- it made such a difference. Your bar routine was very, very cool.

Alexis and Francesca – what a team! Thank you for cleaning up the team performances! I know I am always up in the team routines- but you both really came in and got them together and they were spectacular. Alexis thank you for putting your special touch on the rhythmic routines. Francesca thank you for making sure the artistic and T&T team members knew their timing and where to go.

Dennis – our go-to guy! Great choreography for the 6:30 class- I so enjoy seeing you develop as a choreographer. We all appreciate that you so graciously teach and support wherever needed. You were also very impressive leading the warm-up routine for over 150 students!

Stacie- you know how to come in and pull things off! The T&T team was so impressive.  Thanks for being right in there for the class routines. I so appreciate you leading off the staff performances – being able to see you fly on the trampoline was a treat for all.

Fabu – You were keeping all the kids together and the music and especially the artistic team routines. You along with Francesca have done an amazing job with our girls. They were so impressive and having opportunity for the audience to see how well trained they are was a true highlight.

Miss Joan- nobody knows how to work a crowd like you and to keep the kids in line- with your signature sweet talking style. After the staff performance of flying and flipping everywhere- your beautiful handstand was right on time!

To all the gymnastics students and pre-team athletes- I was so proud! So many personalities – so much sass and you all performed like champions. You were so excited- but you worked so hard to learn your routines, do your solos, cartwheels and dance moves. Rock stars- yes you are!

To the team — you were something to behold today. For the first time we did not have professional performers- you gave such incredible performances it was a milestone that you were able to carry the Gala with your skill and confidence. Yes, I get very tough the week leading up to the Gala- but you never let me down and you inspired the students, parents, guests and me too!

To the Parents- thank you for your patience and support for this event. It was hot, many of you had very young children and siblings for an almost 2-hour show and longer if you stayed around during the rehearsal.  Do know that our staff and I truly appreciate you and what it takes to get your child to class or practice. Also know that I am taking your recommendations to heart.

That is why I am emotional- because we have outgrown the Gala to include all of the classes, pre- team, team, special guests and awards all in a single event.

Next year we will most likely have at least two Galas divided by age so that the kids and parents can have more time to hang out and enjoy a shorter event. We will still have Showtime in Harlem all together – but for our 20th Year it was a Gala that I will always cherish.

– Wendy