Jordan reflects on dwindling school spirit, changes in times in her many years as Color Guard coach


The CMR Color Guard leads the 2012 Homecoming parade down Central Avenue.

Abby Lynes, News Editor

Color Guard is about more than flags and marching; it’s about patriotism, self-improvement, and unity within a team.

“If I can teach them self-esteem and self-respect and respect for one another, that’s my goal,” CMR Advisement Assistant and Color Guard coach Velma Jordan said.

The CMR Color Guard is dedicated to presenting the flags at school functions and fostering school spirit. It has been a part of the school since it opened, when CMR guard members rode horses onto the football field at games while Great Falls High brought a white bison, a tradition that ended shortly before Jordan began coaching in 1980.

She said school spirit was at a different level during those times, when nearly every seat was filled at basketball and football games.

“The kids don’t come out like they used to,” she said.

Jordan said she remembers a time when 90 students would try out for Color Guard, and 30 would make the team. Now the team is smaller, consisting of four members, but it is as active as it has always been.

“We probably present the colors 55 times a year,” she said.

The team meets year-round on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30-4:30 p.m., beginning practices before school starts in August in preparation for football season, and ending with softball in the spring. Jordan said she works with students’ schedules so those in other extracurricular activities can participate on the team.

Other than committing a few hours of practice and performance a week and a current year’s physical, Jordan said there aren’t any strict requirements to join Color Guard.

“You don’t have to have a certain body frame or anything; just a desire to do it,” she said.

The team said they welcome anyone who wants to join.

“My favorite thing [about Color Guard] is that you don’t have to change who you are,” member Shay Rice said. “Everyone is accepted.”

Rice said that team bonding is a large part of why Color Guard is important to her.

“We all have become a big family,” Rice said.

Fellow team member Monica Payan agreed that bonding and the support of her teammates has had a large impact on her life.

“When my mom went to Afghanistan, Mrs. Jordan was here, and I was able to talk to her,” Payan said.

It has also helped with her schoolwork.

“I’ve had a reason to keep my grades up,” she said.

Jordan feels the same sense of community as the students she coaches, and she said she enjoys watching them develop as Color Guard members and students.

“I have fun seeing the girls grow,” she said.

Their growth comes from diligent practice and self-awareness, and presenting the colors requires grace and care.

“You have to know how many steps you have to take and the layout of where you’re going. All eyes are on you, so you have to get used to it,” Rice said.

Along with instilling self-esteem and respect, she said Color Guard simply acts as a place for people to come together and be taken as they are.

“I think that the most rewarding thing is having the feeling that you will be accepted and having a place somewhere.”