Cheerleading has evolved into an international sport, with teams competing every year at the Cheerleading World’s in Walt Disney World, FL and it has also become a provisional Olympic sport! So it is no surprise that EF Academy has a cheerleading team. Not only do they cheer on their very talented and skillful basketball players, but they also compete themselves. Cheerleading is a relatively new sport at EF Academy. Since the program started three years ago, great improvements have been made. The cheerleaders started their season with a phenomenal performance at the Westlake High School and Cardinal Spellman High School Cheerleading Competitions. They were within .5 points of first place! They will be competing again at the St. Catharine High School and Scarsdale High School Cheerleading Competitions.
The team has been upgrading the routine and practicing everyday to do better. They were recently contacted by the St. John’s University Cheerleaders and will be practicing with them in February. Many people do not realize the athleticism required to be a cheerleader, such as: gymnastics, jumping, stunting (where athletes are lifted up into the air), dancing, formations, leading the crowd, and exuding confidence. It’s not easy! Additionally, the team is comprised of athletes from all over the world with little to no previous cheerleading experience. Countries represented on the team include: The Bahamas, China, Thailand, Spain, Russia, Kazakhstan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Italy, Norway, and Japan.
Notes from the Captains:
“Don’t let the fear of falling keep you from flying.” This is my attitude for being a cheerleader. In these three years in EF, being a cheerleader is one of my greatest memories here. As a captain, my goals are to bring happiness, build up confidence and make our team feel like a family.
So far the team has accomplished a lot! We exhibited our half routine and competed with another international school in Spellman High School. Now, we are working to upgrade our stunts and dance, trying different things and learning new stunts. All the girls improve very fast, they give their full heart and dedication to cheerleading even though most of them have never cheered before. Other than competing, we also cheer for the girls’ and boys’ basketball games. You wouldn’t know how much bravery and confidence you need to stand in front of everyone to do cheer. I’m so impressed and proud of what we’ve done.
The famed athlete Conor McGregor once said, “There’s no talent here, this is hardwork.”
As captain, and as a senior, I can assure you that this quote rings true to my beloved EF Academy cheerleaders.Not only have these girls built an incredible amount of trust and friendship, but I have seen the team go from a thigh-stand being the scariest stunt in the world, to doing extensions within less than a month. I have watched as we have been laughed at during basketball games for not being the Hollywood-expectation of cheerleaders, to being praised on our bravery and positivity that we bring to the sidelines. Together, we have gone from being several points behind other cheerleading teams, to being half a point away from first place in our first competition of the year. What makes this even more impressive, is the fact that a majority of us are coming together for the first time from countries where cheer does not even exist! If this does not highlight our love and determination for the sport, then I don’t know what will.