April 2024 Honoree, Blue KC Coaches With Character

April 2024 Honoree | Blue KC Coaches With Character

Mari Foster, Lincoln Prep Dance Coach

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) and the “C” You in the Major Leagues (CYITML) Foundation have announced Lincoln Prep Middle & High School Dance Coach Mari Foster as the Blue KC Coaches with Character honoree for the month of April. A well-rounded and inspirational leader, Foster has been a head coach in the Kansas City Public School District for more than 25 years.

It all started at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy Middle School back in 1998. Her coaching debut with the ‘Tigerettes’ jump-started an unforgettable journey full of memorable moments, outstanding opportunities and friendships that have lasted a lifetime. In 2005, the Lincoln High School dance team, better known as TDT (Tiger Dance Team), was created. It didn’t take long until Foster helped the program reach its first state appearance in 2008, ultimately becoming the Missouri State Dance Team Champions.

“While that was my most proud moment as a coach, one of my most proud accomplishments is being the most consistent coach in the Kansas City Public School District, coaching the same team from 1998 to the present,” said Foster. “I am going on my third year as the Director of Spirit Teams for the Kansas City Public School District as well.”

In addition to dance, Foster has also been the head boys’ and girls’ track and field coach at East High School since 2019 and is USA Track and Field Level 1 certified.

“The best part about coaching is that we set the standard for our district,” said Foster. “We are the longest-running program with the most state wins, being coached by the same coach.”

Throughout her coaching career, Foster has adapted and learned how to get the most out of her student-athletes. Her unwavering commitment to the program has created a culture of inclusivity, hard work, attention to detail and ultimately, overall success. As the years go by, her advice and messaging for her student-athletes hasn’t wavered.

“Be sure to know your worth and don’t compromise your integrity or beliefs for anyone, or anything.”

Mari Foster, Lincoln Prep Dance Coach
Mari Foster meets Sluggerrr for her pre-game recognition on April 9th at Kauffman Stadium (Photo by Amy Kontras/Kansas City Royals).

 

“Know your worth,” said Foster. “Be sure to know your worth and don’t compromise your integrity or beliefs for anyone, or anything. Standards and goals are especially important in our program. Setting those early in the season can help the team focus and stay on task.”

Foster has become a fixture of success during her tenure at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy and has continued to find unique ways to leave her mark on those around her. Despite a more than two-and-a-half-decade coaching career, her resume spans further yet.

“I am also a residential care coordinator at House of Hope KC,” said Foster. “I’m part of a team that works with at-risk youth with a mission of being a guest in the healing process for teens, while also helping pave the way in helping restore their family relationships. We believe that through ministry we can be God’s instruments in reclaiming the stories of teenagers from trauma to triumph.”

“Coach Foster has been a coach and mentor to hundreds of students in multiple schools throughout her illustrious career,” said Foster’s nominator, Lee Allen. “In addition to founding the Tiger Dance Team and growing it into one of the best dance teams in Missouri, she’s also helped capture multiple state championships and has had several of her student-athletes continue their careers at the collegiate level. Because of her love of children, Kansas City Public Schools asked her to serve in a role where she can mentor other district dance teams, and replicate her success district-wide. She means so much to so many students, past and present.”

“The ability of Coach Foster to dedicate so much of her life, more than 25 years, to working with student-athletes and teaching them the values, opportunities and benefits of competitive dance is inspiring and wonderful,” said Christina Lively, Blue KC Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “Our community is fortunate to have someone as passionate about her role as a coach and educator as Mari Foster. Her success and willingness to go above and beyond what is expected, in all aspects of life, should not go unnoticed, which is why we’re honored to recognize her as a monthly winner of the Blue KC Coaches with Character award. Congratulations!

Blue KC Coaches with Character recipients are honored monthly at Kauffman Stadium during Kansas City Royals home games, and fans are encouraged to nominate high school coaches who are making a positive impact on their schools and communities by clicking here.

 

SOURCE: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC)