Katie Tzivanis, Jenna Fagut, Mariyana Van Arsdale
Many students in the Jamesville-DeWitt community have been curious as to why there was an absence of the cheerleading squad for the 2016 football season. There have been many rumors circulating between members of the team as well as the student body; however, it may not be as everyone assumes.
The previous coach, Ms. Teatta Owens, decided not to return to coach J-DHS cheerleading. It left the spot vacant due to the small number of applicants, especially in a community where chearleading isn’t available to students until their freshman year of high school.
“We didn’t have a certified or qualified coach that was able to get board approved,” said Athletic Director John Goodson. It was difficult to find a coach that had all of the certifications and classes necessary to be able to coach the team. “You need First Aid, CPR, DASA, fingerprinting, you need child abuse prevention, and there’s another safety mandated course you need to take. Those are what you need just to become certified,” said Mr. Goodson.
Most of the previous members were devastated when they realized they wouldn’t have a coach for the football season, since many of them are seniors. Some even said that not having a cheer team ruined the beginning of their senior year. “I felt like it was unfair, it was unprofessional, and it made JD look bad,” said senior Zoe Pipines, a member of the team since her freshman year.
It wasn’t only cheerleaders who were upset; “I was kind of upset because normally cheerleaders go with football, it’s just something that happens. It was weird not having them this year,” said senior Terrence Echols, captain of the varisty football team.
Luckily, Melissa Terino filled the open spot and became the cheer coach for the 2016-2017 basketball season. There were others who applied for the position, however they didn’t have the proper qualification to be offered the job.
“Some of the problems I ran into was that there are very specific courses needed and ones that New York State does not accept,” said Coach Terino, “it took me four times with CPR and First Aid to finally get the correct course.” It took her eight months to become certified. She said that Mr. Goodson was extremely patient with her and helped walk her step by step through the process. “Mr. Goodson never gave up on me throughout the process and it has been an honor to work with him through it all,” said Coach Terino.
Coach Terino was a cheerleader for 12 years through Pop Warner and J-DHS. “When I was there the program was outstanding and very competitive,” said Coach Terino. Mr. Goodson and Coach Terino both have a goal to make the cheerleading team more professional and more supported by the students at J-DHS.
Students may not know that the school team gave cheer members opportunities to support not only their school but also an outlet to express themselves without having to spend money on a club team. “It costs hundreds and hundreds of dollars to be on any other cheer team,” said senior Cearra Roberts-Green.
Although the 2016 football season was without cheerleaders, the basketball season is promising with the new and experienced coach. “I like the new coach a lot, she seems really professional and productive,” said Pipines. “She seems nice and like she’s actually going to be a good coach this year and get things done,” said Roberts-Green. Both seniors have postitive outlooks for the team this year, and are very excited that they have the potential opportunity to compete.
“My main goal this season is to bring the program back and to teach the outstanding members of the squad that trusting is one of the hardest but most rewarding accomplishments anyone can overcome,” said Coach Terino.