School pride: Summit High School establishes cheer program ahead of 2022-23 school year
It has been several years since Summit High School has had a high school cheerleading program, but after four years of lobbying, a cheer program will represent the Tigers during the 2022-23 school year.
Members of the Summit High School coed cheerleading team couldn’t be more excited about the news. Many athletes were part of the cheer program at Summit Middle School, but once the athletes reached the high school level their sport was no longer available to them.
“I am really excited actually,” junior Juan Rodriguez said. “I did cheer in middle school and wanted to do cheer in high school but didn’t get the team until now.”
Coaches Lindsey Davis and Ashley Bohdan saw the need for a cheer program at Summit High School and were the ones who worked tirelessly to establish a program.
“We faced a lot of negative opinions towards cheerleading,” Bohdan said. “There was a lot of stereotyping about what it was going to be like and doubts that it would be successful. Our biggest group is probably juniors on this team who cheered for us in middle school and wanted this program to continue on to the high school.”
Davis and Bohdan, who coach the middle school cheer program as well, were eventually successful in getting the reins to a Summit High School cheer program. The honor did come with a caveat: the program is under Summit High School, but the team will have to be self-funded for the first two years.
As a result, the team will need to fundraise in order to pay for uniforms, competitions and camps in order to continue to learn new skills. Also, neither Davis or Bohdan will be paid for their work as coaches over the first two seasons.
“The biggest thing is we need the funding since we are self-funded,” Bohdan said. “We are really in need and there are quite a few cheerleaders who are doing it essentially through a scholarship fund. Any help we can get from our community is huge to us.”
The team has already brainstormed some fundraising opportunities including a fundraising site via FlipGive.com and a kiddie cheer camp which will take place from July 25-27. The camp will last from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will cost $75 for all three days.
Although fundraising may be a struggle, the team is more focused on preparing for the upcoming slate of games and competitions.
The team is currently meeting two days a week during the summer to practice old skills and learn new ones.
“There has already been a lot of improvement — just focusing on their technique and going from there,” Davis said. “For a lot of kids, this is their sport. This is what their main sport is, so they want to get better at it and be able to have that team to practice with.”
Outside of cheer practice two times a week, the Summit High School cheer squad also puts in two days of strength training through Summit High School’s summer strength and conditioning program.
Besides the prospect of training and competing as a complete unit, the team is also looking forward to adding more school spirit to Summit High School.
Prior to this upcoming school year, Summit High School has lacked traditional forms of school spirit like a cheer squad or a marching band.
“I think a lot of it is bringing more school spirit,” Davis said. “I think that has been lacking a little bit. I know other teams are excited to be a part of that and bringing all the other teams together, helping to build that team spirit.”
“It was really exciting to get a cheer team because our school doesn’t have any people that are responsible for the spirit of the school,” freshman Elizabeth Skowron said. “The cheer team is able to give the school more excitement at prep rallies, football games, basketball games and also excites the players.”
For a school that continues to produce playoff-caliber teams, school spirit is essential in spurring players on and also making the school feel even more like a community.
“I am super excited for them to show what they can do,” Bohdan said. “Cheerleading tends to get a bad rap that it’s not a sport, so I am excited for them to really showcase what athletes they are.”
Those interested in finding out more information about the Summit High School cheerleading program or this summer’s Kiddie Camp can email Lindsey Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ashley Bohdan at email@example.com.
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