By Hannah Chern
Cheer team leads their school and community
Cheerleaders demonstrate leadership through community service and school spirit
Pom poms and ponytails flying, cheerleaders bound across the floor in stunts and dance. Cheer teams are always present at sporting events with their enthusiastic performances and motivational cheers. These individuals are the face of spirit leadership in schools all across the nation. However, at Mill Valley, cheer’s purpose extends beyond leading school chants. While cheerleaders’ leadership is most apparent at sporting events, head cheer coach Stacey Moore believes it is important for the team to be leaders throughout the whole community.
“We try to attend community events that we are invited to attend. We have attended breast cancer events in the past, we do not just [attend] this Relay for Life, but other Relay for Life’s as well,” Moore said. “We cheer other people on as well. We just try to be present in the community and support where we can.”
Despite the recent lack of team spirit at Mill Valley, senior co-captain Payton Totzke appreciates the impact that cheer has on the school’s atmosphere.
“It is definitely important to have [cheerleaders] for spirit. I know the band loves us, they get involved with us. It just makes the environment peppier,” Totzke said. “We’ve been struggling with school spirit so I’m glad the cheer team has been here helping that.”
Senior co-captain Erin Miller agrees that the cheer team positively affects the school around them.
“[Cheerleaders] love the school they go to and they want people to be involved,” Miller said. “They’re very open to talk to anyone, and they are pretty personal.”
Amidst the football season, the roaring crowd of fans at home games is never without an enthusiastic band of cheerleaders to lead them in spirit. This activity is made all the more special when the community’s younger girls receive the opportunity to lead cheers alongside the team, according to Moore.
“[Cheer] runs a clinic in the fall and all of our girls are leaders because they all coach a junior jaguar team, kindergarten through sixth grade team, who they help coach,” Moore said. “Then we have a night where those kids or other kids in the community get to come and cheer with us for a half of a football game.”
Totzke feels that the influence the cheerleaders have on junior jaguars through the clinic is witnessed by participants and spectators alike.
“We have so many little girls who come out and there [and say] ‘I want to be just like you!’,” Totzke said. “Even just [from] the stands we get compliments or people are always watching us, so we have to make sure we are always doing the right thing.”
As team captain, Totzke values leadership in the cheer team itself.
“I thought it was really important that there is leadership in a team. I made the varsity team, and after having so much fun with the girls, I just thought it would work out really well because we all get along,” Totzke said. “I knew people would come to me if they needed anything.”