Four Sunset students overcome adversity to make NCA All-American Cheerleading Team


When the switch to virtual learning happened in the spring, Sunset High School cheerleading coach Natasha Mitchell held virtual practices and made sure her students didn’t miss out on their dream to attend the National Cheerleading Association’s (NCA) cheer camp. Her athletes’ hard work paid off at August’s virtual camp when four of 13 nominated cheerleaders from Sunset made the NCA All-American team.

Sunset’s NCA All Americans
Jourdyn Hawkins, Class of 2021
Mario Garcia, Class of 2021
Alexis Rodriguez, Class of 2022
Frederick James Jr., Class of 2022

These four students not only made Sunset athletic history but are also a part of Sunset’s P-TECH, which provides students with the tuition-free opportunity of earning up to 60 hours of college credit–or an associate degree–while still in high school.

Varsity cheer captain Jourdyn Hawkins is further making history as the first-ever Sunset student invited to apply to be NCA staff next year.

Cheerleading Coach Natasha Mitchell

“I can’t express how proud I am of her as a coach,” Mitchell said. “She was able to demonstrate her strength as a leader through a [computer]screen. For strangers to see those qualities in her without even meeting her face-to-face shows how incredible she is.”

Ever since she was a little girl, Hawkins knew she wanted to cheer.

“Cheerleading is about leadership,” Hawkins said. “It’s helping me become a better person, [practice]soft skills, hard skills, how to communicate with other people, and how to build connections.”

Jourdyn Hawkins is the first-ever Sunset student invited to apply to be NCA staff next year.

Through planning ahead, she is able to balance her collegiate academy classes, cheerleading, and a part-time job at a bookstore. She plans to pursue a career in the medical field as an OB-GYN.

“I want to make it possible for women with underlying health conditions to have as healthy pregnancies as possible,” Hawkins said.

“She is a humble young lady and a strong leader,” Mitchell added. “All of her hard work these past four years in cheerleading and in P-TECH has given her the foundation to face any challenges that she may face as she prepares for college and pursues becoming a doctor.”


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