Whiz Kids: The varsity cheerleading team at HHHS
Accomplishment: The HHHS Sailor cheerleaders were awarded fifth place in the Universal Cheerleading Association's School Spirit Awards for their breast cancer awareness campaign.
Key to Awesomeness: Nichole Kelly, head coach of the HHHS cheerleaders is understandably proud of her team. Coaching the sport for eight years, she has encouraged her hard-working teams to give back to the community. This year, the group of over sixty cheerleaders has been recognized for their support of breast cancer awareness and is fulfilling Kelly’s wishes. “I want the team to be a presence in the community and to take pride in all of the things they do,” she said.
To apply for the American School Spirit Award, squads had to submit a portfolio of the projects they had done along with letters of recommendation; descriptions of their spirit-raising activities, academic awards, as well as some interesting facts about their team.
Kelly said the team started a community-wide awareness and fundraising campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness month with a "Beat Cancer" cheer and performed it at various events, collecting donations with their megaphones. In October alone, they raised $700 for Support Connect, a local organization that helps families battling breast and ovarian cancer.
Co-captain Julie Gaspar, a senior, said she was very proud of placing fifth in a national award competition. “We come from a small town and a small school,” she said. “I am happy that people can see what we have done as a team—it’s not just cheering, but also helping to support the community.”
The cheerleaders other efforts include hosting an annual baby-sitting night at an elementary school, taking part in a “Bullying is Nothing to Cheer About” campaign, and participating in the school’s blood drive.
“Doing more for the community puts a smile on my face,” said Claire Pershing, another senior and team co-captain. “It is a sense of family that our team gets from helping others and having a positive impact on the school.”