Madam Speaker, I rise today to ask the House of Representatives to join me in recognizing Pam Williams, the Director of the Isiserettes Drill and Drum Corps in Des Moines, as the Iowan of the Week. As the Isiserettes celebrate their 40th anniversary this year, I know this longstanding community program relies on the contributions and dedication of Ms. Williams to the Isiserettes Drill and Drum Corps.
Ms. Williams — or Ms. Pam, as her students call her — co-founded the Isiserettes in 1980, a time when there weren’t many creative outlets for young African American kids in Iowa. Since then, the Isiserettes have become an icon in the Des Moines Metro, with performances at the Iowa State Fair, parades all over the city, and even music videos with local musicians. They also perform nationally, hold several titles and have earned the honor of performing in both of President Obama’s Inaugural Parades. We are deeply proud to see them representing Iowa as they travel across this country.
Even at the age of 75, Ms. Pam never misses a rehearsal. You can always find her working hard on choreography and helping students reach the high expectations she’s set for them. Students between 7 and 18 years old dedicate themselves to early morning practices on hot summer days, and must maintain good grades in order to participate. As a result, they boast a 91% graduation rate amongst members of their team. Ms. Pam’s students describe her as one of the strictest people they know, but they will also tell you she is like a second mother to them. The key to the Isiserettes’ success is the family atmosphere fostered by Ms. Pam and her team.
It should not go without notice that Isiserettes Drill and Drum Corps is a volunteer-led organization. Ms. Pam does not receive a single dime for the thousands of hours she puts into the organization every year. She does it out of the goodness of her heart, the benefits to our community, and her commitment to the success of her students. Ms. Pam has built the tradition, pride, and dedication that has sustained the Isiserettes for 40 years.
It is Ms. Pam’s dedication to providing a safe place for students to express themselves through music and dance that makes her a pillar of our community. It is an honor to commemorate Ms. Pam and recognize her as the Iowan of the Week.