KANSAS CITY, Kan. —The Gateway Highsteppers have been high stepping across the metro for 25 years with LaVeda Davis leading the way. 

Laveda started the dance and drum team as a young mother who loved to dance. She said she wanted to give the kids in the neighborhood something to do. 

J’La Williams has been dancing at the studio since she was a little girl. 

“She teaches us how to be respectful in school, keep our grades up. She motivates us to keep us going. She’s like another parent to us that we don’t have outside of drill team besides our biological parents,” Williams said. 

The drill team has been active all over the country, from St. Louis to Michigan City, Indiana, to Omaha, Nebraska. 

“This is our family.I’ve been doing it for 13 years. She has taught me nothing but respect, motivation, courage,” Williams said. 

Davis is set to retire from leading the group, but not before getting a big surprise. Monday the FOX4 Pay It Forward Crew surprised Davis with a $400 gift card. 

“It’s just something that I do, I love to do. I love my kids. I love the feeling of being a mother and big sister,” Davis said.