For The Madera Tribune
LaVeda Chan-Payne practices twirling her batons. Chan-Payne was named the national champion in the United States Twirling Association National Baton Championship, having competed against more than 125 others for the title.
Ranchos Middle School eighth-grader LaVeda Chan-Payne participated in the United States Twirling Association National Baton Championship in Jacksonville, Florida, and came away with the Festival of the Future Foundation National Championship.
Chan-Payne was named the national champion out of more than 125 baton twirlers during competition in August. She placed first in basic, military, presentation and parade march. She also participated in a baton event and placed fifth and was 15th in the solo competition for her age group.
“When they were calling out the names and I didn’t hear my name, I thought, ‘Oh, it’s okay. I’ll get a participation award,’” she said. “Then, my name was called out of all the girls for first place. It was like a dream. I am so excited.”
Chan-Payne participates in parades throughout the Central Valley and also leads the Liberty High School marching band. She began competing three years ago.
Her coach is Yolanda Stone, who was the first Latina to win the Senior Woman’s world Championships in 1982.
“LaVeda had an amazing nationals,” Stone said. “She worked very hard and was focused. She loves to twirl and her passion to be the best is her goal. I am very proud of her.”
Chan-Payne represented the United States at the 2017 Pan Pacific Cup and will compete in Canada in 2020.
During the summer, she practices twice daily.
“I like to practice at 6 a.m. until 9 a.m. to beat the heat, then I meet up with my teammates in Clovis and we all practice from 4 to 8:30 p.m.,” Chan-Payne said. “It’s nice we perform for one another and give feedback to one another to improve ourselves.”
Chan-Payne’s parents, Robert and Melissa Payne, love how baton twirling has taught her how to be disciplined.
“She is very goal oriented,” Melissa Payne said. “She loves performing with the Liberty High School band and loves being the feature twirler.”
Chan-Payne hopes to be a feature twirler in college. One of her biggest goals is to twirl under the Eiffel Tower in Paris and to travel to different countries twirling baton. She wants to receive her doctorate.
Chan-Payne and her family are accepting donations to help continue her twirling career via PayPal at: Friends ofLavedaFundraiser@gmail.com.