CIHS Military Drill Team Earns Lifetime Achievement Award

Drill Team is posing for photo.
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Channel Islands High’s military drill team members, with Creative Precision Awards presenters. They are, front row, from left: Assistant Coach Aleiah Lasala, Rona Ebete, Christine Padua, Sharmaine Cardenas and Coach Catherine Zafra. Middle row: Rome Bautista, Kristina Camaclang, Dr. Christopher Schiavone and Karlena Chambers. Back row: Lorena Sanchez, Gianna Tuando and Eden Zafra. © OUHSD
Channel Islands High School’s eight-member girls’ military drill team was presented with the first Creative Precision Lifetime Achievement Award during a school assembly on May 21.

Dr. Christopher Schiavone of Boston and Rome Bautista of Hollywood, judges for the national nonprofit Creative Precision Awards group, recognized the school for its 40-year history of consistently turning out top-flight military precision teams and for its members — both past and present — being trend-setters in the performance genre, and not just trend-followers.

“With their perfectly-fitted and commanding signature hot pink/emerald-trimmed dresses, refined overall sharpness, intricate arm twists and bends, and belting entrances and exits, it’s a winning formula they’re successfully instituted for years with enduring success,” the Creative Precision Awards says on its website. “They are free of creative ties, never bowing to the pressures of what’s en-vogue among drill team snobs.”

Creative Precision Awards also noted that Channel Islands High’s military drill teams have achieved success despite never having a professional choreographer as a coach, “and in this day of teams insisting on the comforts and luxuries of indoor studios, this military squad practices literally outdoors, exposed to the elements rain or shine; all the while, under the immense pressure of turning out elite-quality routines every season.”

“Their routines are nothing short of mind-boggling,” said Bautista, who added the Raiders were selected for the Lifetime Achievement Award over about 200 military drill teams nationwide.

Captain Rona Ebete said she “was just shocked” when Brett Zielsdorf, the team’s advisor, informed them that they had won the national honor. “I could not really take in what had happened when Mr. Zielsdorf had read the email notifying us that we were the recipients of the first Lifetime Achievement Award. I am just proud to be apart of such a great legacy.”

Remaining Channel Islands High military drill team members are: Lorena Sanchez, Gianna Tuando, Christine Padua, Sharmaine Cardendas, Eden Zafra, Karlena Chambers and Kristina Camaclang. Catherine Zafra is their coach, and she is assisted by Aleiah Lasala.

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