Weston has been coaching the BHS Dance Team ever since the high school reopened in 2000. She, herself, was a member of the team when she was in high school. She decided to become a coach when she was in college. She missed the world of high school dance, and wanted to reconnect with it. Once she began, Weston found that she loved coaching. In addition to coaching the Bellingham High School Dance Team, she now coaches dance and gymnastics at Kulshan Middle School. She is also a special-ed teacher at Options High School.
Each year, the WSDDCA inducts a couple of coaches from the state into their Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame aims to recognize those who have made high school dance or drill in Washington what it is today. Nominees must have at least 10 years of coaching experience. To be considered as an inductee, a coach must also have contributed to creating a well-rounded program at their respective school. Weston was nominated for the honor by a fellow coach. A committee of coaches from around the state reviewed all of the nominations and then selected two winners.
Alongside Weston, coach Kim Hille of Tumwater High School was inducted into the Hall of Fame this year. They were both officially inducted at the WSDDCA annual fall conference in Yakima on October 8. Their induction included a dinner ceremony and speeches were given on their behalf. Weston also gave a thank-you speech accepting her award.
Weston was accompanied at the ceremony by her assistant coaches Lisa Harrison, Megan Juenemann and Miranda Selnes. Juenemann, former member of the BHS Dance Team, says that she came back to coach not just because of her love for dance, but because of Weston.
“It’s not all about dance for Ronni either,” she says. “She genuinely cares for every member she coaches and that shows. She always sees the best in people and has a special way of bringing it out in everyone.” Weston was a mentor for Juenemann when she was in high school and Juenemann continues to look up to her.
Weston says that her favorite part of coaching is watching people grow from their first year on the team, when they are shy and unsure of themselves, to graduation. She loves to see the personal pride that they have developed over their years on the team. Weston genuinely cares about every team member. She says that the unofficial part of her job is to mentor team leaders and high school students in general.
“What I love about Ronni is that she will do anything in her power to help you,” says current team member Maya Peregrina. “She will drop anything to help her girls.” Peregrina elaborates, saying that Weston is very caring and loves everyone on the team. She is not only a coach, but a friend. Peregrina also says that seeing how hard Weston works inspires her to try harder at practice.
While Weston clearly has a huge, positive impact on the lives of everyone she meets, she remains very humble.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by people who do the same job as me every day and to be recognized as someone who does it really well,” she says of her induction into the WSDDCA Hall of Fame. “I don’t think anyone does this job for the recognition, so it is an honor when you do get recognized. I work among many people who deserve this award, so I feel special to be chosen to represent the work that we all do.”
Being the head coach of a high school dance team is not an easy job, and not one that often receives the appropriate recognition. As head coach, Weston has many responsibilities, including planning practices, fundraising, costuming, planning transportation, and being at performances, competitions, and practices. She also oversees the rest of the coaching staff.
Her students are grateful for all of the work that Weston does for them. When they see how hard she works, not only do they appreciate it, but they are inspired to work just as hard. They are happy to see Weston’s hard work recognized.
“I’m so proud of her because I believe that she deserves that award,” Peregrina says of Weston. “I couldn’t think of any other person who deserves this award more than Ronni. I’m glad to have her in my life.”