G! E! T! Get – Involved – with Dallas ISD! This year, the Student Activities Department expanded the cheer program to elementary campuses in an effort to spread awareness of the sport. Support for the program in the lower grades exposes elementary students to basic cheerleading skills and techniques from a young age so they can feel more prepared by the time they reach the secondary level.
For many elementary school students this year, their first experience with cheer occurred at a camp held in September. At the end of camp, the Student Activities department provided teams with sound systems, megaphones and cheer wagons to take back to their campuses for future spirit events. A second camp was held last month for middle schoolers.
“Camp was a really great experience for me and my team,” Rusk Middle School cheer co-captain Ja’Niyah Smith said. “It helped me push myself, get over my fear and learn new stunts. If I could go back and do it all over again, I definitely would.”
Rusk Middle School cheer coach Alekzandra Michael introduced 13 new team members, for a total of 17 cheerleaders, and continued to build the bond she knows is a key factor for a squad’s success. “The girls got valuable bonding time while learning new things, perfecting old things and shaking the fear of being in front of people.”
Rusk Middle School cheer captain Lilianna Constancio said she loved how everyone on her team added a little bit of their own personality and sass to their routines. “Everyone on the team liked the fact that the ‘buddies’ worked with us on our stunting, motions and jumps.”
The “buddies” were brought in by a positive youth sports organization made up of professional and college cheerleaders called Express Cheer. They helped Dallas ISD cheerleaders develop their personality as a squad, which led to a greater sense of teamwork.
Bonding between teammates begins with the excitement of cheering together on the sidelines, but many squads have taken that excitement, raised the bar and set their focus on competitions hosted throughout the school year.
Last week’s competition, the Dallas ISD Cheer Showdown, had 20 participating high schools and 396 cheerleaders present, performing their state spirit routine in front of industry experts. The Rusk Middle School Rams will have a chance to up their game and guarantee a repeat of last year’s first-place win at Dallas ISD’s Cheer Challenge on Dec. 3 at Ellis Davis Fieldhouse; there is a $5 admission fee. For more information on Dallas ISD’s cheer programs, visit www.dallasisd.org/Page/48315.