All-American Color Guard Senior

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Color guard has been a way of life for Emily Wilkinson ever since she started spinning at the age of seven.

“It’s a combination of dance, acting, and then using that and putting it with different equipment – flags, rifles, and sabers and we basically visualize music,” said Wilkinson.

As the senior at Naperville Central High School grew a passion for competing in the sport, she pushed herself to become one of the best.

“I came in two years ago and she had some great skill sets and I’ve seen her really develop and grow in those skill sets, given her some more feedback and she’s taken that and she’s grown tremendously,” said Coach Danielle Beaton, the Color Guard Director at Naperville Central. “She’s exceeded any expectations we had for her and she just keeps pushing the limits, which is just really cool to see. So she’s very dedicated.”

It wasn’t until this year that Emily took a chance at being nationally recognized for all her hard work. She auditioned for the U.S. Army’s All-American Marching Band and was accepted.

“I want to be the best performer that I can be and learn as many skills as I can,” added Wilkinson. “And I just love performing so I just want to do it as much as I can.”

Out of the hundreds who auditioned, Emily earned her spot on the 125-person marching band which will perform at halftime for the U.S. Army All-American high school football game.

On January 6, she’ll perform a ten-minute color guard routine in front of thousands in San Antonio, Texas, while millions of viewers tune in.

“It’s a big adrenaline rush and it’s just being able to go out there and just have fun and do what you love,” she said. “It’s just a lot of fun performing.”

Ready to take her talent for a spin on national stage.

Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.