Lovejoy Cheer Team Provides Motivation and Much More
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines ‘cheerleader’ as, “One that calls for and directs organized cheering (as at a football game).” Lovejoy cheer team encompasses that definition, and so much more.
Lovejoy Cheer, under the direction of Shelly Wiggins, has increased in size since last year. There are currently 57 students on the freshman, JV and varsity cheer teams.
Over the summer, the cheerleaders attended cheer camp. During the school year, they practice every day during school and sometimes after school when preparing for pep rallies and games. All incoming freshmen cheerleaders cheered in middle school where they received training in motions, tumbling, jumps and stunts. Wiggins said, “By the time they are cheering at the high school, all basics have been taught.”
Students must tryout to become a Lovejoy High Cheerleader. Contenders are scored on spirit and crowd appeal, tumbling, toe touch, front hurdler, pike, combo jumps, cheer technique, projection points, fight song technique and overall impression. The same score sheet is used in middle school. Everyone who tries out makes the team in middle school.
Wiggins said that being a member of Lovejoy Cheer brings multiple benefits to the students. She said that cheerleaders get to know their peers and people in the community. They are strong athletes. They improve their leadership and time management skills and learn to balance their priorities.
In addition to cheering at games, Lovejoy Cheerleaders compete at UIL Wiggins said, “Last year, over 125 teams competed in our division, we finished in 11thplace. This was a big improvement over the previous year.” They perform at football, volleyball and basketball games. They attend other school sports and offer their support. They also perform at pep rallies. They participate in Reading with Leopards where they read to students at elementary schools. They host mini-cheer camps which conclude with the younger students performing with them at a football game. They decorate the community for homecoming. They decorate football players’ lockers. They log many volunteer hours at school and within the community. They are currently working on programs which will include breast cancer research fundraising and a special needs cheer team.
Wiggins has been a cheer coach for 23 years. This is her third year at Lovejoy High School.