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Annie Ellett founded Hi Cs 55 years ago, has coached ever since, taking them to 11 state championships

COURTESY PHOTO: CENTENNIAL SCHOOL DISTRICT  - Annie Ellett recentluy received the National Coach of the Year award for spirit from the National Federation of State High School Associations for 2020. Annie Ellett, the dance coach at Centennial High School for more than five decades, added a new national recognition to her many honors and awards.

Ellett recently received the National Coach of the Year award for spirit from the National Federation of State High School Associations for 2020.

"She is awesome, isn't she," said Terry Schloth, Centennial High's assistant principal and athletic director.

Ellett founded the Centennial dance team, the Hi Cs, in 1966 when she was in college. She's thought to be the longest serving dance coach in Oregon.

Ellett's been at it 55 years, has won legions of fans among her dancers and their families, and coached the Hi Cs to 11 state championships.

She was named Oregon Dance Coach of the Year in 1988 and 1994 and received a lifetime achievement award in 2012 from the Dance Drill Coaches Association of Oregon.

Ellett began dance training when she was 5 years old. She was a teaching assistant at Portland's well-known Emery Clay Dance Studio and a "rally girl" at Portland State University. She owned her own dance studio for a time.

Even the COVID-19 pandemic has not slowed down the Hi Cs coach. She's been holding virtual workouts for the team and is waiting to get vaccinated before moving to pandemically-proper, in-person workouts, Schloth said.

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


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