CHS cheerleaders offer support with goodie bags

Published 12:01am Saturday, August 3, 2013

NATCHEZ — Members of the Cathedral High School cheerleading squad spent Thursday morning having a friendly debate over which football players were theirs.

But this wasn’t a discussion about who to take to homecoming. Instead, the cheerleaders were deciding which players — and coaches — they would give gift bags to on Friday nights.

Each member of the Cathedral cheerleading squad is assigned a couple of players to present with goodie bags on Friday nights. A few cheerleaders will also do the same for the Green Wave coaching staff. It’s a way for the squad to show their support to the team, said cheer captain Kaylee Sanders, a senior.

“Everyone freaks out about getting a player,” Sanders joked. “You want that person that you know. It brightens up their day and makes them feel special and important.”

Cathedral cheer sponsor Lashon Brown said everyone involved looks forward to the cheerleaders giving the players and coaches a boost in morale.

“They’re very excited about it,” Brown said. “It’s something for them to say, ‘We’re here for you. Good luck tonight.’”

Cathedral is expecting to have its entire squad on hand for practice Monday, and Brown said she’s excited about returning a largely veteran group of girls.

“They’re very good and experienced,” she said. “All the girls were cheerleaders last year, so that saves us a lot of time. They already know how to work with one another, so we don’t have to figure out groupings.”

A big change for the team this year is that Cathedral won’t be doing competitive cheerleading. Brown said after doing it during the previous school year, it was time for her girls to get a break.

“It’s very time-consuming,” Brown said. “Most of the girls are in other sports, and it’s hard to balance between basketball, soccer, cheer and track. It just makes for a long day. I won’t want to push them too hard, because academics come first.”

Junior Wesley Anderson said while she enjoyed doing competitive cheerleading last year, she said not having to do it this year has its advantages.

“It takes up so much time,” Anderson said. “It starts during football season, and you’re not able to do as much for football. I like competitive cheerleading, but I’d much rather cheer for the football players.”

During LSU cheer camp at the beginning of June, Cathedral’s squad received two big honors. It was awarded the leadership award and was sent home with the golden banana, which goes to the squad judged to have the most spirit. Sanders said receiving both awards was amazing.

“To bring (the banana) home is a huge honor,” Sanders said. “It’s all we were worried about. You’re leading other girls to show spirit and be peppy.”

As cheer captain, Sanders said she’s looking forward to leading this year’s squad.

“It’s challenging, but rewarding (being cheer captain),” Sanders said. “I like a challenge, and I like to help people. It’s a lot of fun getting to bond with each of the girls and being sisters with all of them. Knowing everyone looks up to you is rewarding.”