For Maggie Barnett, the road to Peru goes through Texas.
The Byron Nelson High School senior learned of her selection as one of just 14 baton twirlers who will represent the United States as goodwill ambassadors to Peru during the 69th International Festival of Springtime. It came on the heels of her also being named 2019 Miss Majorette of Texas at the Texas State Baton Twirling Championships.
During the two-week festival, which takes place from Sept. 18-Oct. 1, Barnett will perform at philanthropic events, a senior living home, an orphanage, a parade around the city of Trujillo and more.
“I spent many long hours in the gym practicing every day this summer, and it feels wonderful to know that all the hard work paid off in the end,” Barnett said. “I am super grateful for my family, coach, and school as they continue to support me and allow me to pursue my passions each and every day.
“Receiving this invitation was a huge honor as very few twirlers are selected from across the country, and I look forward to traveling to Peru and sharing my love for the sport of baton twirling internationally.”
Barnett is a member of the Byron Nelson band, where she serves as one of its twirlers, and has received numerous accolades throughout her baton-twirling career. She began twirling at age 4 and has been competing since age 6.
She won her first regional title and qualified to represent the state of Texas at national competition for the first time in 2014 and has qualified every year since. She was the 2017 Junior Miss Majorette of Texas and the 2018 Junior Texas State and Southwest Regional Twirling Champion.
In addition to winning 2019 Miss Majorette of Texas at the recent State Baton Twirling Championships, she was awarded a traveling trophy in honor of baton twirling Major Margaret Mann for creative and inspiring choreography.
Barnett is hoping to twirl for a college program following her graduation from Nelson.
“It has been a dream of mine to one day twirl for a large college or university,” she said. “I am currently looking at schools on the East Coast and will audition for collegiate twirler positions beginning in January of next year.”
She would also like to incorporate her skills into a career, she said. She’s considering coaching, and even judging.
“While my competitive twirling career will one day come to an end, I do hope to give back to the twirling community that has given so much to me. The sport of baton twirling has taught me numerous lessons that I will take with me and utilize in my future career,” she said. “Twirling has taught me how to effectively communicate with teammates, how to conduct myself in an interview, time management skills, and so much more.