August | Blue KC Coaches with Character
Shelli Vaughan, Notre Dame de Sion dance team
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) and the C You in the Major Leagues (CYITML) Foundation have announced Notre Dame de Sion girls dance team coach, Shelli Vaughan, as the Blue KC Coaches with Character honoree for the month of August.
Vaughan, a graduate of Sion, took it upon herself to petition the school to start the dance team when she was just a junior in high school. Despite numerous challenges and obstacles in getting the program off the ground, the Notre Dame de Sion dance team was established for the 1994-95 academic school year.
During the inaugural season of Sion dance, Vaughan was named the program’s first senior captain. While continuing her education at Missouri State (formerly Southwest Missouri State), she continued to choreograph for Sion and was ultimately named head coach after graduating.
“Sion is special,” said Vaughan. “I believe in the school’s mission to empower high school girls to reach their highest academic and personal potential and to follow their dreams. I love being part of the high school experience for so many amazing young ladies and helping them become who they are today.”
Vaughan still stays in contact with as many of her former dancers as possible and enjoys watching them succeed in the next chapters of their lives. She once read that championships are won at practices, not at competitions. That message has stuck with her throughout her entire coaching career and helps emphasize the importance of the day-to-day grind of being successful in dance.
“Before each performance, I encourage the girls to go out and do what they have been trained to do,” said Vaughan. “I want them to persevere, compete as a team, give the world the best they have and to make each moment count. As a coach, my goal is to teach and model integrity, commitment, perseverance, and strength.”
As a coach at Sion for 22 years, Vaughan understands and values the process of hard work to help achieve specific goals. The high school dance season spans from August until March and requires immense concentration and determination in order to capture the objectives they set forth each season.
“The girls stay focused and push themselves to be the best dancers and teammates possible,” said Vaughan. “Being part of supporting the development of those life skills for each dance team member is one of the things that has made me most proud throughout my time as a coach. It is apparent that the girls take the confidence and work habits they have learned from dance into their schoolwork, relationships, jobs, other sports or activities or whatever else they are truly passionate about.”
In 2020, Vaughan was selected as a ‘Coach of the Year’ nominee by the National Dance Team Coaches Association, an honor that reiterates her passion and commitment to all of her dancers. Additionally, Vaughan’s teams captured 15 Missouri State championships between 2000-2022, including an impressive span of 11 consecutive titles.
“My most proud accomplishment would be our back-to-back High Kick National Championship wins at the National Dance Team Championships in 2021 and 2022,” said Vaughan. “I will never forget hearing Sion’s name announced as the winner and the overwhelming pride and joy that I felt in those moments.”
“Shelli is the humblest person I know,” said her nominator, Ryan Vaughan. “You would never know these incredible things about her unless you hear them from someone else. She deserves the recognition and appreciation for the countless hours of dedication to her family, career and the Notre Dame de Sion dance team.”
“To build a program at the high school level is no easy feat,” said Christina Lively, Blue KC Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “But Coach Vaughan’s ability to pull that off with the Sion dance team while she was an active student is simply incredible. Her love for dance and passion for coaching took a non-existent program and turned it into a national championship institution. We’re honored to celebrate Coach Vaughan and her numerous accomplishments that are focused around the development of young ladies in our community. Congratulations!”