Stepperette History


In 1958, Virginia Vulcano, a St. Joseph Academy senior, was taking baton-twirling lessons from Richard A. Cree.  Mr. Cree was the Iowa State baton twirling champion in 1956 and had been drum major of Drake University's marching band for four years.  Whenever Cree gave Miss Vulcano baton twirling lessons, they would always wind up talking about drill teams.  As a result of these discussions, twenty-four St. Joseph Academy girls decided to have a drill team.  Cree told the girls if they received the permission of Sister Mary Denis, B.V.M., school principal, he would personally teach them drills.  Permission was granted and the Stepperettes were born.  Their first public performance was at halftime during a Dowling High School basketball game in February 1959. 

In 1966, it was decided to make the Stepperettes an All-City Drill Team.  Prior to this, membership was limited to St. Joseph Academy girls.  The American Republic Insurance Co., whose National Headquarters is in Des Moines, assumed sponsorship of the Stepperettes at that time.  Americare was the trade mark of the Des Moines firm and hence the name The Americare Stepperettes. American Republic remained the sponsor until Fall of 1969.

In the Fall of 1969 the Stepperettes remained All-City but had no sponsorship until 1972 when they were sponsored by Dowling Catholic, where their sponsorship remained until they disbanded in 1977.



Dick Cree 1958-1966

Brandt Crocker 1966-69

Doug Kelso 1969-1975

Audrey Miller 1975-1977

   Asst Dir 1971-1975

Scott Stearns 1975-1977



National Drill Team Open Champions South Milwaukee 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, and 1971 with highest score ever recorded by a drill team of 94.65 in 1971.

2nd Place 1969.

1st Place Best appearance, parade performance 1960.

National V.F.W. Championship in 1965 and 1975.

2nd Place 1973 and 1975.



Stepperettes have performed before many high school, college and University, and professional football and basketball crowds.  They have appeared several times on National television and were invited to participate in the 1961, 1965 and 1974 Presidential Inaugural Parades in Washington, D.C.

They welcomed President Lyndon Johnson at the airport in October of 1964.