Dance team shows appreciation to coach

Published 9:42 pm Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The home of Chelsea Middle School Spanish teacher and dance team coach Michelle Nivens, her husband Tracy, and new Yorkie Emma is often the scene for the girls cook-outs and spend-the-night parties.

It just recently became the scene of a presentation from Niven’s dance team members.

“She’s been such a good coach we wanted to do something special for her that would last a long time,” said eighth-grader Courtney Carter, captain of the dance team at Chelsea Middle School. “We gave it to her at a wiener roast at her house.”

“I couldn’t believe they thought so much of me to give me a gift like that,” said coach Michelle Nivens. “It’s so personal and something to last a long time — we hope.”

Nivens’ last Yorkshire Terrier, Bella, was hit by an automobile over a year ago. The dance team girls decided to get her another one because they knew she really wanted one and she’s such a good coach, team member Joanne Morgan said..

Barb Britton, the mother of team member Erica Britton, helped the girls work out details to get the puppy. “Erica and her mom came a little late for the wiener roast and brought her in a picnic basket,” said Carter.

“It kind of scared me at first when Erica handed me the basket and said they had brought some food, and something moved in there,” Nivens said. “Then I opened it and saw her for the first time looking up at me. I started to cry immediately and didn’t know what to say.”

Nivens said she and the girls sat down together to figure out what to name their new mascot. They first listed the names of the 21 girls on the dance team and tried to create something using the first letter of each, but that didn’t work. They then tried using last names and that was worse.

“So we stuck with my favorite baby name,” she said. “Both of my great-grandmothers are named Emma, my best friend’s middle name is Lee and my middle name is Ann, so we voted and the girls liked it. So, her name is Emma Lee Ann Nivens! And she has 21 wonderful sisters that she loves very much!”

“We’re very close,” Morgan said. “We’re like family.”