Cheerleading Shapes School Pride for Alabama School for the Deaf
From getting students and fans into the school spirit during pep rallies and games to cheering competitively at Mason-Dixon Tournament, the Alabama School for the Deaf (ASD) cheerleading team gives it their all year round!
“I have loved being the captain of the cheer squad this year and pushing our team to success,” said Ashley Wentworth, Junior. “My advice for anyone interested in becoming a cheerleader is that if you feel scared or nervous, don’t worry! It’s not as scary as you think it is. Always enjoy yourself in doing cheer and have fun.”
Each year, students from 7th to 12th grade participate in the 2-day tryout process. On the first day of tryouts, the students show off their skills and learn chants. Then, on the second day, they show off how they were able to memorize and pick up on the chants learned the previous day. They also pair up to demonstrate their creativity by creating and demonstrating a new, quick cheer.
“My experience with cheerleading is the struggle I face because I have dermatomyositis arthritis disease,” said Mia Teague, Senior. “Cheerleading has made me feel more confident and show who I am.”
Led by head coach Natalie Grace and assistant coach Lauren Leflar, the team has two main seasons. The fall is dedicated to cheering on the ASD Football Team while the winter is dedicated to basketball and competitive cheer. They are also a very active staple with ASD as they participate in and lead the pep rallies. The team incorporates American Sign Language into their chants and has cheered at every home game this season. They have even traveled to away games to cheer on the team against Tennessee and Florida!
But through it all, It is no doubt that the squad maintains a strong, familial bond.
“I’ve been an ASD cheerleader for 2 years and my favorite memories are of us laughing and spending time together,” said Haylie Rizer, Senior.
This winter, the team will travel to Florida School for the Deaf and Blind to compete at the Mason Dixon Tournament against ten other schools for the deaf.
“I’m very proud of the team,” said Coach Natalie. “They have done amazingly this year after two years of not cheering due to COVID-19. Go Warriors!”