Let’s, Go, Selma!

Diana Garza, Co-Editor in Chief/Webmaster/Co-Sports Editor

Whether it be a football game or school event, the Selma High cheer team will surely be performing. Dressed in rhinestones, wearing a full face, and topped with a bow, the cheerleaders put hours of hard work into each of their productions. Tryouts for the upcoming academic school year, 2022-2023, already took place on March 24-28. 

To ensure the cheerleaders are prepared to welcome students into the new school year, cheer begins practicing as early as mid June. 

“They [cheerleaders] are spirit leaders for the high school,” explained Ann Fester. “We hold the highest reputations here.” Mrs. Fester has been a cheer coach for 21 years, and is currently the adviser for the high school team. Her career began when her daughters became involved in cheer, and she has been coaching ever since. 

“It’s about wanting the girls to be dependable and take it seriously,” Mrs. Fester continued. 

The girls practice three to four days a week, from 5-8 in the evening. Occasionally they have back to back performances, leading to extended and increased practices. They learn a variety of choreography for different performances, as well as cheers for both football and basketball. With so much material to learn and memorize, it’s important the girls prioritize cheer. 

“We mostly go over dances and try new stunts for halftime shows,” described sophomore Mariah Ramirez. Stunting is an important part of cheer. It refers to the multitude of lifts and tricks the girls do while raising each other in the air. Many people underestimate the time and strength necessary for cheerleading, minimizing the girl’s endeavors. 

“Cheer can sometimes stack up on top of school,” Mariah added. “Cheer is a priority, but so is school. It can be stressful, but you just have to learn to manage it.”

Some would say cheerleaders are dismissive about academics, but the team pushes for scholastic success as well. The team is one of the most notable representatives for Selma High, so their conduct is a model to the community. 

“It’s easy for people to say, ‘All you guys do is kick your leg in the air,’ but no one knows how many hours our team put in,” said senior Alyssa Ramirez. “The amount of conditioning we did in order to be able to get through four to five  minute routines of dancing and lifting people in the air…It’s not as easy as it looks.” Alyssa Ramirez has been cheering for eight years, and is motivated by her enthusiasm for dancing. Like many cheerleaders she’s encouraged by performance, wanting to be the best she can be. 

Mrs. Fester, as well as the rest of the team, encourages more students to attend next year’s tryouts. An outside judge scores each contender, and Selma High will then proceed to compile their squad based on who attains the highest scores. The experiences and bonds the Selma High cheerleaders have accumulated are significant and irreplaceable. It’s important that new cheerleaders are passionate about the sport, because dependency is key. Just one cheerleader missing a practice or performance can impact the entire routine. It’s necessary student’s fight past discouragement and seek inspiration. 

“The sport has taught me a lot of things that will help in situations outside of cheer and after I graduate,” continued Ramirez. “This includes discipline, self control, punctuality as well as learning and adapting to different people.”

Cheer is a major part of each cheerleader’s life. It’s clear that much more goes on behind the scenes than the general public is aware of. With so much to learn and discover, cheer is a worthy endeavor for any curious individual to experience.