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By: Christian Barajas

What does it mean to be a cheerleader? In one word, everything. The DLS cheerleaders practice every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for two hours after school. During practices, they work on jumps, learn or perfect dances and cheer routines, and finish by working on stunts.
“The hardest part is telling yourself that you can do it because sometimes it’d be so physically straining that your mind is telling you you can’t do it, but you have to be mentally tough,” senior Samantha Mulhearn said.

This year, the team nearly had a brand new start with 10 rookies joining. This meant teaching almost everyone on the squad everything: all of the cheers, stunts, and routines. However, the team shared a connection and ended up with what was like a family. This built a foundation of trust which is necessary in a cheer squad, making it easier to work with one another.

“I liked the bond I shared with my fellow teammates,” sophomore Drayona Rollins said. “The hardest part of the season was getting our routines together and drilling our stunts and choreography. The best parts of the season was the cheer camp team-bonding trip we took together and the thrill of displaying your hard work to the school.”

Prior to the start of the school year, the squad traveled to East Troy High School in Wisconsin for a single-day camp where they worked with NCAA cheerleaders on stunts, routines, and team-bulidng activities. The cheerleaders got to meet other squads from around the area, too. All of this helped build this foundation of trust for the year.

“I liked that this year a lot of new girls joined cheer, and we had a larger squad,” junior Alexis Rangel said. “We made the new girls feel welcomed and quickly bonded with one another, which everyone on the team can agree with. I liked how hard we worked together after that.”

This season the squad also had a change in routine due to the renovations happening in the Parmer Activity Center and on the football field.
Practices were held in the Commons, and home field became St. Rita’s field.

“Football season was way more fun this year because ever since we went co-ed, I know a lot more people. So, it was a lot more fun to be able to cheer on my friends that I’ve gotten to meet. There was a better connection there,”