By Shawanda Walcott ’17
In the interest of full disclosure, Shawanda Walcott is on the cheerleading team.
While many don’t consider cheerleading a sport, the Midwood cheerleaders are dedicated and put their all into their team. They run laps, stretch, and work out like every other sports team. With basketball season underway, cheering for girls and boys varsity, their schedules can get hectic; there can be as much as four games in one week. Despite the abundance of games, the Midwood cheerleaders stay on top of their game.
Alizda Norvil ’17, who recently made the squad, said being on the team requires hard work and friendships you build and your experience make up for all the hard work.
Kristy Valdemar ’17, who recently made the squad said, “At first I didn’t want to try out without having a friend be- cause I was somewhat scared of the old girls and their judgment. After three cuts, I started to be more comfortable around the girls and realized they were just like sisters. This made me develop a love for the team even more.”
Part of being on the team is learning how to commu- nicate well with others. The cheerleaders welcome all new girls with open arms. Recently Ms. Joanna Alonso, the coach, held a meeting for anyone who is interested in joining the squad.
“I was very excited to see all the new faces and potential new girls,” said Luriane Condison ’17, who tried out for the squad her freshman year. “It makes me reminisce on when I was a new girl.”
Saraphina JeanClaude ’17, who also tried out her freshman year said, “We’re here to help and guide them since we were once in their position.”
In order to fully make the squad, girls trying out must go through a long process. There are several parts to the tryout process but due to the change in leadership, tryouts are different from what they used to be. First, girl’s report cards and medical forms are collected by Ms. Alonso. If the student is not failing any classes, she may move onto the interview phase. The girls
are then interviewed by Ms. Alonso and the cap- tains. Whoever makes it past the interviews, then begins attending practice as if they were on the squad. The other cheerleaders will begin teaching the cheers, and once a sufficient number of cheers are learned, first cuts are based on if you know your cheers. Once you make it past first cuts, old cheerleaders begin to teach football halftime. During second cuts, girls will be tested on how well they perform halftime.
“The tryout process then was based on just grades, how you perform, and the final step would be to tryout in front of the whole squad while they were in their uniforms,” Ms. Alonso said.
Based on her personal experience, as one of the former members of the squad, she describes the end of the process as intimidating. “When I became a coach I decided to add an interview process. It is important to get to know potential future cheerleaders to ensure that they are capable of working as a team, realizing there’s no I in team, and have a positive attitude.”
Once the tryout process is complete, another requirement is paying for your uniform and the practice garments that come with it. The total cost can add up to $350 not including a cheer bag, bow, and several undergarments.