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Clinic instructs future cheer squads

“Go bananas, go, go bananas.” Since the early ’80s, young girls have gathered to learn cheers like this. Prospective cheerleaders from elementary school met for the annual cheer clinic, Sept. 23-26, to learn cheers and dance moves from the official squads.

Cheer coach Katie Mendanhall believes the point of the clinic is to introduce young girls to cheerleading.

“Clinic is good for the younger girls,” Mendenhall said, “because it can impact their life for Christ through cheerleading.”

Mendenhall cheered from junior high through her senior year. She was also a participant in the clinic from kindergarten through sixth grade and helped out in junior high and high school. Mendenhall has officially coached the cheerleaders for five years.

The junior high and junior varsity and varsity cheer teams dedicate their time to help the girls learn the needed routines and safety rules.

“Every year,” Mendenhall said, “I feel like our high school and junior high cheerleaders are a big part of making this happen.”

With about 60 girls participating in the clinic, Mendenhall says the team met her expectations.

“My expectations for this year was for the girls to have fun, learn the basics of cheerleading and glorify the Lord doing those things,” Mendenhall said.

The young cheerleaders’ age ranges from kindergarten through sixth grade. They are put into a group according to their age.

Sophomore Keonia Streeter, junior varsity cheerleader, says the best part is the look on the girls’ faces when they learn something new.

“I love working with the younger girls,” Streeter said. “The fact that they are willing to learn and to work as a team inspires me.”

For junior varsity cheerleader Lizzy Bolduc, ’11, helping with the clinic brings back memories of her years in cheer clinic.

“I participated in the cheer clinic for three years in elementary school,” Bolduc said. “My favorite part was watching the high school cheerleaders do all of their stunts. I could not wait to be one of them.”

For seniors, this clinic was the final chance to perform with the girls. Nikki Erickson feels a sense of relief.

“Although it is kind of sad that I will not be helping anymore I am somewhat happy because it is a little stressful,” Erickson said, “but I will miss it.”

After the week of clinic, the girls were granted the opportunity to cheer at the varsity football game on Sept. 26.

Mendenhall says the young girls always look forward to the game.

“It’s good for them to cheer at a game when they’re younger,” Mendenhall said, “because if they continue to cheer when their younger they already know what it is like to cheer at a high school game.”

For more information on cheer clinic, read Jennifer Rose’s Sept. 10, 2007, article, article Elementary girls learn cheer basics.

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