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Anne Ellett, Centennial's coach since 1966, is named NFHS National Spirit Coach of the Year.

COURTESY PHOTO - Centennial High School dance coach Anne Ellett — she's coached the Hi Cs for 55 years — was recently named the 2019-20 NFHS National Spirit Coach of the Year.

Centennial dance coach Anne Ellett has been honored with the 2019-20 National Federation of State High School Associations' National Spirit Coach of the Year Award.

Ellett has served as head coach at Centennnial since she started the program in 1966. She is believed to be the longest-tenured high school dance coach in Oregon.

During her tenure, Ellett has led Centennial to 11 state championships, including championships in both the Show and Dance/Drill divisions. She was named coach of the year for the Dance Drill Coaches Association of Oregon in 1988 and 1994. She received the DDCA's lifetime achievement award in 2012.

Each year, she strives to teach her new dancers the concept of "FAD" — "F" for fun, "A" for academics and "D" for dance.

In the announcement from the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association, Ellett is described as "exemplifying the highest standards of sportsmanship, ethical conduct, and moral character. She is a great ambassador for the coaching profession."

"Loving what you do, where you do it and who you do it with is all that matters," Ellett said. "And I look forward to every day and every practice with my Hi Cs."

For 55 years, Ellett has made a direct impact not only on the students who go through the dance program at Centennial, but on the Oregon dance team community as a whole.

In the early days, high school dance competitions did not exist in Oregon. But Ellett gathered several of her colleagues, and in 1973, they launched the first-ever state competition, which was named the Metropolitan Dance Festival (or Metro, for short).

While Metro is no longer the state competition, it is still hosted each year by Centennial's dance team. It is the longest-running high school dance team competition in the state.

In the 1970s, Ellett went on to co-found the Oregon High School Dance and Drill Association, which would become what is known today as the

Dance Drill Coaches Association of Oregon (DDCA). The DDCA is a membership-based organization serving dance programs and dance coaches throughout the state. It hosted the annual state championships from 1973 to 1986; the Oregon School Activities Association took over as host in 1987.

Ellett continues to be involved in the leadership of the DDCA by serving on the organization's board of directors.

In addition to coaching dance, Ellett taught health, physical education and movement at Centennial and Portland's Jefferson High School.

Ellett and her husband of more than 50 years, Mick, live in Portland. They have two adult children and five grandchildren, including one who is a member of her school's high school dance team.

Danielle Schneider writes for OSAAtoday


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