Andrea Neuman frequently has to correct herself when giving instructions to the junior varsity drill team she coaches at Oak Park and River Forest High School.

“Face the field, ladies … and gentleman.”

Still, there is nothing awkward about Pierce Boyd-Bagby being the first-ever boy on the drill team at OPRF. It fact, it’s not even remarkable, if you ask the 16-year-old junior.

“The school environment is so diverse, it’s not a big deal,” he said. “I was talking to a friend about it and he said, ‘You’re trying out for drill team? That’s great. Do you want to go to Chipotle later?’ It wasn’t even a thing.”

A background in dance and friendships with several members of the drill team — which performs during halftime at football and basketball games — made for a smooth transition. He brings added humor to practices but also a discipline to the workouts, often helping his coach to shush excessive talking.

“I love my team,” he said. “I’ve done theater, but it was always so competitive because you’re fighting for the role. But this is a team, so you’re all working together to get the best results.”

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David Pierini

In June of 2014, David was honored with the 1st Place Award for Best Photo Series, as well as the 1st Place Award for Sports Photo, by the Illinois Press Association. Check out his award-winning caliber...