KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
January 25, 2020
By Jennifer Miko
Anyone who’s attended a Katy High School football game in the last 37 years, has been entertained by Patty Henson’s Brigade Team’s half-time performances. Recently, Henson was recognized for her talent and dedication when she was awarded the Texas Dance Educators Association Lifetime Achievement Award.
Since 1983, Patty Henson has been the Katy Bengal Brigade and Cheerleader (KBBC) Director at Katy High School. On Saturday, January 18, she was honored with the Texas Dance Educators Association Lifetime Achievement Award at the Marriott Marquis in Houston. Unfortunately, Henson was unable to receive the award in person.
“Rather than being present at the TDEA banquet where the announcement was made, I was on a bus home from Fort Worth with my cheerleaders,” says Henson. “Robin Sammons (director) was facetiming friends at the banquet and she then made the announcement on the bus. It was pretty special to have my kids with me when it was announced and they were super excited, as was I.”
Decades of Wonderful Performances
As Brigade Director, Henson has had the opportunity to travel with her teams to events around the country. The KBBC has marched in the San Antonio Fiesta parades, both the Battle of Flowers and the night parade, performed at SeaWorld, Fiesta Texas, Disney World and Disneyland.
“KBBC has also performed in all of the domes of Texas, Astrodome, Alamodome, Texas Stadium, NRG, and AT & T in Arlington,” Henson says.
Henson said her team’s biggest event to date was their performance at the Rose Parade last January. Her students worked with professionals in the dance world and witnessed the behind-the-scenes preparations.
“To be the opening for the Tournament of Roses parade is a memory we will all carry forever,” says Henson.
Practice Makes Perfect
The Brigade Team is currently preparing for the American Dance/Drill Team Contest being held at Morton Ranch High School in February. They are working on three Team routines and four Officer routines.
Henson admits it takes a lot more time to prepare for a performance than for the actual performance itself.
“We practice four days a week for a 2 1/2 minute routine,” says Henson. I’m lucky because I have great students willing to work hard for the final result, and I have great assistant directors to help me get to the finished production.”
Behind the Scenes
Henson, a single mom, has called Katy home for 37 years.
"I have been blessed with the best son ever," says Henson. Her son Ross graduated from Katy High School last year and is enrolled at the American Musical and Dramatic Arts Conservatory in New York City.
Henson holds a Bachelor of Arts from Texas Lutheran University and a degree in Dance from Texas Women's University. She taught junior high speech/theatre for one year, and the following year started directing. This year marks her 40th year in the education field.
Henson believes that KBBC offers one of the best means for teens to grow with others their own age.
“The Brigade and Cheerleaders offer companionship while also teaching discipline, determination and self-motivation,” says Henson. “It’s about being a part of something bigger than yourself, being the member of a team holds you accountable to that team.”