Waiting their turn to try out for cheer and dance, nervous teenagers felt the anxiety ooze. Before official try outs, students attended a mandatory meeting with their parents. Mrs. Storey and Mrs. Holland discussed expenses of being on a spirit squad, expectations, spring schedule, and deadlines for paperwork and physicals. Students also collected teacher recommendations, learned skills at clinic, and practiced through mock try outs.
“The biggest challenge for me was memorizing the dance routine,” Giselle Alvarado, 8th, said. “It took me some time to memorize it, but I got it, and I was proud of myself.”
Each potential cheerleader and Raiderette had some type of inspiration to take on the challenge.
“I tried out with a friend and found out I really enjoyed doing the dance routine,” Lorena Martinez said. “It’s funny to think that I was just supporting a friend.”
Others had been encouraged — and discouraged — to try out.
“My teacher, my mom, and some of the girls who were already on the cheer team inspired me to try out because they said ‘Cheerleading is fun’ and ‘You look like a cheerleader,’” Destiny Phengthouy said. “Some of my friends said I couldn’t make it so I wanted to prove them wrong.”
A panel of judges scored each potential cheerleader for run on, jumps, cheer, and dance, and these scores were added to points earned from teacher recommendations and citizenship, which is based on attendance, tardies, SDC, and suspension. Potential Raiderettes were judged on dance and kick routine, turns, leaps, splits, and overall presentation.
At the end of the try outs, Mrs. Storey and Mrs. Holland posted the list of names of those who made the squads — and then ran!
“Sometimes, girls who I know from class or in the halls try out, and I hate it for them if they don’t make it,” Mrs. Holland said. “I didn’t make it at my junior high in 8th grade so I personally know how bad it feels to not make it. And as hard as it may be for my students to believe, I do hate it when they are sad.”
Not everyone was sad.
“I was very ecstatic and happy because I worked my butt off all week,” Gavin Garrett, 8th, said.
Making the team affected students emotionally.
“Oh gosh, I cried!” Aaliyah Newman, 8th, said. “I felt like I was in a movie, all slow-mo and stuff. I am finally on a team that can uplift me.”