By Tess Malijenovsky
Each year, the Beaufort Water Festival depends on a select group of local high school girls known as Pirettes. In November the young women are chosen through an application and interview process by the commodore to serve as goodwill ambassadors.
Apart from volunteering throughout the festival in the office and dispatching Water Festival information to those with questions, the freshman and sophomore girls represent the festival and the Beaufort community. They are chosen based on their experience with leadership and volunteer ethics in high school as well as their knowledge of the festival. They will also be a part of parades in the surrounding Beaufort area all year, such as the Christmas parade and the Watermelon Festival.
For many young girls, becoming a Water Festival Pirette is an opportunity to get more involved in the town festival they’ve been going to since they were little kids.
“I’ve seen girls doing it before I was a freshman and I wanted to try it out for myself,” said second-year Pirette Haley Sutcliffe.
“I’ve always been to the Water Festival but being a Pirette you meet more people,” tells first-year Pirette Katie Stansell. “My family’s been going to Water Festival for years. My aunt used to be a Pirette and she told me it was a lot of fun, so I wanted to keep it in the family too.”
The 2012 Pirettes are 20 girls. Jessica Bennett is a second-year Pirette, a sophomore at Beaufort High School (BHS). She is a member of the St. Helena Baptist Church Youth Group and is on the BHS softball team.
Mckenzie Blake is a freshman at Beaufort Academy that plays on the varsity teams of basketball, volleyball and soccer.
Michelle Brown is a sophomore at BHS, a member of Young-Life and plays shortstop for her varsity and traveling softball teams.
Dorthy Burns is a sophomore and cheerleader at BHS who enjoys attending talent night at Water Festival with her family.
Somers Cherry is a freshman at BHS who used to dance in the talent show, her favorite night of Water Festival. She is a competitive dancer and a member of the BHS Interact Club.
Courtney Coxwell is a second-year Pirette and sophomore at BHS where she is in the National Dance Honor Society, Interact club and the Eagle Scholars.
Shelby Duncan is a second-year Pirette, a sophomore at BHS where she is involved in her Interact Club and Spanish Honor Society. As a Pirette, last year she enjoyed seeing a different side of the festival by volunteering.
Charlotte Gray is a second-year Pirette and sophomore at Beaufort High School where she cheers. She loves the Lowcountry Supper night.
Cheyanne Gray is a freshman at Thomas Heyward Academy who rides horses. Cheyanne enjoys the Ski Show and Concert in the Park during Water Festival.
Chandaa Johnson is a freshman at BHS on the softball team who is also part of the Theater and Interact Club.
Emma Macloskie is a freshman at BHS who enjoys seeing all her friends and family during Water Festival.
Ellie Muckenfuss is a second year Pirette at BHS where she participates in the Pep Club, Voices and Young Life. Her favorite memory of Water Festival was the 2007 talent night, when she dedicated her song to her sister who was leaving for college.
Jenny Mullins is a second-year Pirette and sophomore at BHS who plays on the varsity golf team and traveling softball teams.
Alexis Myers is a sophomore at Battery Creek High on the cross-country team. She is also a part of the Beaufort Youth Orchestra and Battery Creek’s String Ensemble.
Megan Potter is a second-year Pirette and sophomore at BHS on the Interact Club, Young Life and is on the sailing team for BHS.
Natalie Simkins is a freshman at Beaufort Academy who plays tennis and soccer for her school.
Katie Stansell is a freshman at BHS on the Interact Club, Pep Club and Junior Varsity volleyball team.
Haley Sutcliffe is a second-year Pirette at BHS also on the Interact Club and the Pep Club.
Ariana Torman is a freshman at BHS who likes working the snow-cone machine on Water Festival Children’s Day. She is on the JV and competitive cheer teams at Beaufort High.
And finally, Kaley Turner, a second-year Pirette at BHS, loves playing tennis and soccer for her school.
It’s a great tradition for high school girls to be recognized throughout the year. Congratulations to all 20 Pirettes!