Photo by Lorie Palmer
Grangeville High School football cheerleaders (L-R) are Kendra Draper, Faith Bruzas, Rainie Chounard, Hailey Uhlenkott, Hailey Cass, Jillian Hausladen, Katelynn Robinson, Angela West and Alex Boatman.
As of Tuesday, September 15, 2015
GRANGEVILLE Somewhere in the past decade or so, Grangeville High School cheerleaders have gotten a bad rap.
“I’m not sure when it happened, but somehow it became considered not cool or popular to be a cheerleader,” said GHS secretary Alecia Hagen.
The new GHS cheerleaders are out to change that concept.
“I think in the past there was a lot of drama and it just became not very fun,” said senior cheerleader Kendra Draper.
“It used to be I actually felt homesick as soon as I got to practice,” added senior Katelynn Robinson. “That has definitely changed.”
From not having enough girls to offer cheering to only having three or four interested, GHS and new coach, Hagen, have already drummed up a full squad for football 2015.
“We have nine great girls who are doing a great job and we’re out to change people’s perceptions,” Hagen said.
Hagen, who graduated from GHS in 2003, was herself a cheerleader. When no one applied for the coaching positon, she said she thought, “Why not?”
“I definitely did not want to see the program go away and I know how important cheerleaders are for school spirit,” she emphasized.
Every grade is represented in the squad and all members said they feel like a “family.”
“I’m accepted by all these girls who support me,” said junior Angela West.
“For me it was a way to meet people and get involved in Grangeville High School,” added freshman Alex Boatman.
“I was really shy when I first moved here, and this has been a great way for me to build confidence,” freshman Hailey Cass said.
“It’s my senior year and I thought, ‘why not do it?’” said Hailey Uhlenkott.
“I had no idea I even wanted to do it,” freshman Jillian Hausladen smiled. “No one really believed it but it’s good.”
The girls have also felt the compliments that have already come to them this school year.
“It makes us feel really good that people tell us we’re doing a good job,” Robinson said.
“And to know the students want us here to help with school spirit makes us feel like we belong,” Draper added.
“It’s not just about cheering on the field, either,” added Uhlenkott. “It’s about what we do in between games to make everyone feel welcome and a part of things, whether or not they do sports or are involved.”
“We’re here in this school eight hours a day,” she said. “It has to be a place where people feel good and want to be. It just has to.”
Hagen wants to make sure the school spirit the squad is pumping out each game day is something that lasts all year round.
“We want to be excited for football and basketball, but we also want to have school spirit and participation the rest of the year,” she said. “We have plans to get everyone involved and are really looking forward to a great year.”
Assistant coach Aminta Bruzas, whose junior daughter, Faith, is on the squad, said Hagen has been instrumental in helping the team unite.
“She is someone all the girls can relate to, they see her in the office every day, and she has an investment in the kids and the school,” Bruzas said. “That’s important. She is incredible.”