The expression “to pass the baton,” is commonly used to imply that one is handing over their duties and responsibilities to the next person. In fact, the baton is frequently used as a symbol of authority: from conducting musical performances, to weaponry. It is also a sign which represents military or other offices. In Live Oak, the baton is turned and tossed by a group of girls who have a passion for baton twirling. However, they know, more than anyone, that mastering the baton is about far more than pretty movements. At Twirling by Kary, students learn lessons that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Former majorette for the Florida State University Marching Chiefs, Kary Waters Black, is a champion at baton. She began twirling at the age of three and has been at it ever since. She twirled throughout high school and received lessons from Kristin Sewell Miller. After high school, she was accepted to FSU where she twirled for four years and held a leadership position. Black currently teaches English at Suwannee High School, but her passion is baton. She began her own business, Twirling by Kary, around four years ago and has been impacting the lives of many ever since. “I wanted to teach other girls the beautiful form of twirling,” said Black, on starting her business-- an impressive move for someone in their early twenties. However, its more than learning the sport, stressed Black. “I'm in it for the girls. It isn't about money or clout; I want them to have a good time and understand they are loved and cared about. We're a big family and they know they can come to me for anything.” Kary feels the love to, as her students often refer to her as their “mom away from home.” She stresses that baton is about working hard and mastering an art form, but most importantly, building important relationships. Friendship, teamwork and a genuine concern for one another abounds at Twirling by Kary. Girls are graduating from Black's program and going on to pursue the sport at higher levels. In fact, at Twirling by Kary's upcoming, Rivals Baton Camp, former student Emily Frederickson is returning to help coach. Frederickson is currently twirling for the FSU Marching Chiefs. Kary Black is a force to be reckoned with. She worked hard, fought to accomplish her dreams, and is now instilling the same drive and determination into her students, both at Suwannee and Twirling by Kary. She has, quite literally, passed her baton. In addition, she left us with some valuable advice. In order to succeed at higher levels of baton twirling, Black stresses the importance of practice and consistency and, on becoming an entrepreneur like herself, she states, “Just go for it. You can't be afraid. It's all about getting out of your comfort zone and taking the leap.” Basketball star, Michael Jordan, famously stated “I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Failure is simply a part of the journey and, like Black, if one simply takes the leap, they can accomplish the unthinkable. If your child is interested in attending Twirling by Kary's Rivals Baton Camp on Saturday, June 13, or enrolling for regular sessions at Twirling by Kary, contact Kary Black at (386) 209-1581. At camp, classes will be taught by some of the top FSU and UF twirlers. Participants will work on one, two and three batons, releases and catches, rolls and exchanges. Private lessons are also being offered. Participants with any skill set are welcome.