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Girl on the gridiron changes how her team sees gender

It started as a bet with her mom, but Lexi Dressing won a spot as starting kicker on her South Carolina high school football team. Our Student Reporting Labs report as part of Outside the Box, a series on the ways that young people are challenging traditional gender stereotypes.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Next, we have asked our network of middle and high school reporters from the Student Reporting Labs to examine how their generation is challenging traditional gender stereotypes.

    Tonight, we profile Lexi Dressing, a football kicker from South Carolina who tried out for her high school team to win a bet with her mom. Little did she know that wager would change the way the whole school views girls on the gridiron.

    This is the first part of a series we are calling Outside the Box.

  • ANNOUNCER:

    Number 19, Lexi Dressing, who is actually a female kicker of the game. And, Josh, we don't see that, that often.

  • LEXI DRESSING, Nation Ford High School, S.C.:

    It all started with a bet. I was just joking with my mom. I was like, hey, mom, they need a kicker for the football team, so I'm going to try out. She is like, I bet you won't.

    I won that bet.

  • NARRATOR:

    Lexi Dressing is a 16-year-old girl who kicks down the barrier of gender stereotypes. What started out as a bet with her mom turned into a huge part of her high school career.

    Although Lexi is the only girl on an all-male team, it seems that gender is the only thing that sets them apart.

  • LEXI DRESSING:

    For the most part, it's all just — we're all the same. They don't treat me any different. It's just like a big family. It's like having 34 brothers.

    The support that Lexi receives from her team definitely contributes to her success. However, they were taken aback when they heard that the new addition was a ponytail-sporting powerhouse.

  • JORDAN HELMS, Nation Ford High School, S.C.:

    The first time I heard a girl was trying out, I was a little bit surprised, but she surprised all of us and turned out to be a really good kicker. It's nice to know that, every time we score, we're going to get seven points, because she's going to knock down the PAT every time.

    She treats us just the same way we treat her, with respect. And we are really dependent on her.

  • NARRATOR:

    Not only does Lexi seem to fit right in. She even goes the extra yard to be better than her competition. Constantly competing for the spot as starting kicker, her skills clinched the cross-town rivalry cup.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    To see more stories of how Generation Z refuses to be pigeonholed, you can visit our Web site. That's PBSNewsHour.org.

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