Summer cheer preps squads for school year

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

“We love having summer cheer camp for youth cheerleaders,” PHS Varsity Cheer Sponsor Jean Coker said. “Watching the fifth and sixth grade teams as the next girls that will be trying out at the middle school, I am encouraged.”

During the last week of July, community cheer joined with high school cheer to prepare for fall.

PHS Cheerleaders were happy to share their skills with youth and middle school cheerleaders this summer as they finished up Pelham Youth Cheerleading Camp. (Contributed)

PHS Cheerleaders were happy to share their skills with youth and middle school cheerleaders this summer as they finished up Pelham Youth Cheerleading Camp. (Contributed)

Earlier in the summer, PHS Cheerleaders worked with RMS Cheerleaders to prepare for the new school year.

The PHS Pantherettes Dance Team also works with the middle school dancers to learn technique and dances for the coming year.

Building these important liaisons between schools and community opens communication and demystifies transitions for students in extracurricular activities, sports and academics.

Discovering a former student’s lost mom and daughter, Maggie, outside my classroom led me to cheer camp.

As I walked my foundlings to the gym, we passed through PHS senior registration.

When her grandmother asked if she needed to sign up at the registration table, I laughed.

“Oh no—not unless we want to get Maggie registered for her senior year of high school!” I said. Maggie did inform me that she was ready for high school; however, trying to stay out of trouble with Maggie’s mom, I insisted we continue to cheer camp.

“I had no idea the high school was so changed,” Maggie’s grandmother said as we passed many improvements and upgrades in the building.

Simply visiting the school eases transition anxiety. Cheer, dance, band, some sports and other high school groups offer younger students in the community opportunities to work with the high school version of their chosen activities.

PHS Cheerleading made that contact in a big way this summer.

“Youth camp had 105 girls from kindergarten through sixth grade,” said Coker.

The PHS Cheerleaders did well at their summer camp at Auburn winning several awards including a gold superior ribbon on their home pom dance.

“Youth camp was the best part of cheerleading this summer,” said PHS Senior Cheerleader Gracie Vinson. “Watching the kids have so much fun cheering is great!”