The victory not only marks the end of an undefeated season for the squad, but also keeps the undefeated record that the team has held for three years. It has won first place in every competition the squad has entered since 2011.
“The last time they got second place was at this competition in 2011,” said Coach Richard Melvern, an alumnus of Eleanor Roosevelt High School and former captain and co-founder of the squad. “It’s good to come back with a win this time.”
The competition took place at Harrisburg High School in Harrisburg, PA, where the Dem’ Raider Boyz Step Squad competed against 20 other teams and won the title by a mere two points.
The theme of the boys’ routine this year was “The Founding Fathers, forging the Stepper’s Constitution,” and was choreographed by Melvern with input and ideas from the members of the team.
“I’m extremely proud of them,” Melvern said. “They’ve put in an extraordinary amount of work. They practice at least two days a week. The weeks we have competition, they practice all week long.”
Dem’ Raider Boyz spends six hours a week practicing and 15 hours training on competition weeks -- on top of attending classes and getting all their homework done.
The team of 16 high school students is led by captains Olu Pascucci-Laniyonu and Diallo Boubacar and Coach Melvern. The members of the team have also maintained their academic excellence on top of stage excellence. Members of the team have kept an average 3.6 GPA with six of the members earning above a 4.0.