Vicky Duquette’s day is like that of so many working moms.
Up at 5 a.m., work by 7 a.m., driving kids to soccer practice, making dinner, helping with homework, etc.
“Busy, busy, busy,” said the 38-year-old physical therapist assistant and married mother of three. “It’s non-stop.”
Yet at that moment Duquette was involved in something that made her day wholly unique.
Fine tuning a dance number by 24 Manatee High School Sugar ‘Canes practicing for Saturday night’s Mr. Sugar ‘Cane Show at the school’s new Davis Building Performing Arts Theater.
“Linda Boone said it’s almost like putting on a wedding, but I’m up for the challenge,” Duquette said.
Boone would know, having done 25 of the fashion and dance shows as Sugar ‘Canes director.
Lori O’Leary, her successor, did four.
Now it’s Duquette’s turn.
Nothing like making your debut as first-year Sugar ‘Canes director by organizing the program’s annual fall fundraiser in the school’s brand new, 800-seat, $20.3-million, state-of-the-art theater.
“Our first big show,” Duquette said. “I’m excited and nervous at the same time. You just get the job done. It’s going to be a blast. The girls are ready.”
Sounds like it.
“We’re looking forward to it,” said Margarida Phelan, a Sugar ‘Canes lieutenant. “With the new theater, new stage and everything, we’re excited to show off our changes.”
Duquette’s new role is certainly one of them.
Unlike Boone and O’Leary, both MHS alums and MHS teachers, Duquette is a Bayshore High grad and former Honeybear -- an interesting twist in a prominent organization with strong traditions.
“It’s on a pedestal and that can be very intimidating, but as a mentor I wanted to be part of the Sugar ‘Canes and help them grow,” said Duquette, who also had 10 years of ballet, tap and jazz, and taught hip hop. “I feel as long as I do the best I possibly can, it’s all going to work out well.”
Boone, who led the vetting process, was impressed by the 1991 Bayshore alum.
“Vicky has an understanding of the program, but brings an outside perspective I think is good,” she said. “I see a lot of positive energy from her going onto the girls.”
“She brings a new voice -- and she is energetic,” Sugar ‘Canes captain Lauren Bellant said of her coach.
Duquette’s drive comes not just from her passion for dance, but from her day job.
It serves her well when she’s wrapping up evening practice at 10 p.m. some nights.
“Working as a therapist in the geriatric population has taught me so much,” Duquette said. “I love dance, I’m doing something I enjoy and I’m able to make a difference in these girls’ lives.
“You’re only young once, so enjoy life.”
Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055.