Building a love for cheer

by Sean Dunlap

The Franklin County High School cheerleading squad hosted its “Little Girls Cheer Camp” last week with no fewer than 70 participants from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade learning chants and routines.

The camp, under the direction of FCHS cheer sponsors Angela Chance and Porsha Shaw and taught by the Bulldogs’ cheerleaders, wrapped up on Friday with a public performance in the campus gymnasium.

“Many of these are the same girls who come up to the cheerleaders on the football sidelines and in the basketball stands and show an interest in what they are doing,” Chance said.

“For the cheerleaders, it’s a reminder that there are always a lot of little eyes on them and they get to interact with and shape the future of those who will cheer in the years to come.”

Shaw characterized the turnout as strong with a wide range of participants in all the age groups represented.

“We’re always happy to see a good turnout because it shows there is a strong interest in cheerleading in our community,” Shaw continued.

“It’s also great to see each of them grow during the camp in terms of confidence and desire ... their faces just light up and they really attach to the older girls.”

The program featured a great deal of one-on-one and group interactions that spotlighted chants and routines — in an effort to build teamwork and present the best show possible.

Chance and Shaw said participants in last week’s program will now have the chance to perform with the FCHS cheerleaders during the first home game of the 2022 football season on Friday, Sept. 2 when the Bulldogs face off against Wesson.

Among those taking part in this year’s “Little Girls Cheer Camp” were Mackenzie Anderson, Olivia Ballard, Skylin Banks, Olivia Beach, Mariah Bee, Lexi Bethley, Lyrek Bethley, Maisy Cain, Sadie Coley, Ariyah Collins, Zailah Collins, Kali Cook, Sh’Nya Cox, Abbie Davis, Makayla Davis, Maven Delaney, Salem Delaney, Caroline Dunigan, Mary Adelyn Dunn, Dani Jo Durr, Staliyiah Edwards, Amari Fleming, Camila Gigllardo, Olivia Good, Aaliyah Green, Harleigh Hammack, Caroline Hawley, Rivers Hawley, Dallis Hunt, Rowan Jackson, Natalie Kelly, Addalyn McGraw, Elodie Mckay, Joslynn Matthews, Macie Morgan, Emma Nations, Paris O’Quinn, Khyla Patrick, Cali Robinson, Kaylin Rogers, Kyleigh Rogers, Aliyah Rollins, Isabella Rollins, Alaina Rollinson, Harmonee Sawyer, Isabella Scott, Katie Grace Shelley, Paisley Smith, Landry Kate Smithhart, Ainslee Snelson, Maddie Lynn Spring, Lauryn Starks, Malerie Starks, Brooke Stebbins, Ashlyn Tillman, Molly Kate Turner, Penelope Walker, Riley Walker, Gwendolyn Walters, Chase Watts, Harper Watts, Ryleigh Weadock, Makayla White, Jessi Whittington, Bylthe Whittington, Kinsley Wilkinson, Ashleigh Wilson, Sh’Layah York and Ella Zumbro.

Beside lots of fun and personal interaction, last week’s camp also served as a primary fund-raiser for the Bulldogs’ cheerleaders, who will be heading out for their summer camp in Panama City Beach, Fla., from Sunday, July 10 through Friday, July 15.

“Going to summer camp is one of the main parts of our overall preparations to cheer during the upcoming school year,” Chance said.

“Proceeds from this event go a long way toward helping us cover the costs of going to Florida.”

Chance and Shaw said the weeks between now and the start of the fall sports season will certainly be busy with practice sessions and workouts for the cheerleaders to polish their skills and talents.