Genaro Vavuris for Convent & Stuart Hall
As the football team took the field for homecoming, the Convent cheer team celebrated from the sidelines in their first team appearance, as students and parents cheered along.
Though they are still a fairly new team, they have developed some pre-game rituals, according to sophomore Freida Cruz.
“Before the games, I feel super excited,” Cruz said. “We practice our cheers, run a lap and do a team huddle.”
Juniors Amaliya Sypult and Ella Noblin created the cheer team this September.
“I wanted a way to bring school spirit,” Sypult said. “And I thought cheer was a perfect way to incorporate dance and also bring spirit to our sports games.”
After countless slideshows, meetings with athletic directors, and discussions with Chief Academic Officer, Leadership, Head of School Rachel Simpson and Leadership, President of School Ann Krejcarek, the cheer team was finally approved. They now perform at home sports games, and are on their way to becoming a certified team sport.
“I’ve been working closely with Dana Kuwahara, who is the athletic director, to make sure we’re on the right track to becoming a sport,” cheer coach Reba Sell said. “The big thing right now is showing we’re essential and helpful in raising spirit within our school community.”
Sell first got involved with the Cheer team this September, given her history with cheerleading in high school, they reached out.
“I was a cheerleader in high school and have experience coaching cheer. I saw the cheer team Instagram account and reached out to Amalyia from there,” Sell said. “I act mostly as a normal coach would do- I give feedback and am the adult presence to monitor. But for the most part Amalyia and Ella make the cheers and the routines.”
Practices occur every Monday and Wednesday from 3:30.p.m to 5.pm. They do not have a designated practice space, but they most often practice in the Columbus Room at Stuart Hall. They consist of warm-ups, stretching and practicing cheers and dances to the point of consistency. Currently, the cheer team is in a rotation of 16 different cheers including “Defense,” “Touchdown,” and “Stand up.”
“My favorite cheer is ‘Hey, Hey’,” Cruz said. “Because it gets the whole audience cheering along with us.”
Until the cheer team becomes a certified sport for the school, they are club-member funded. They currently only receive funding for their uniforms. Until they receive proper insurance, they must follow guided safety precautions and are restricted from incorporating mounts, stunts, or jumps in their routines to prevent injury.
“We don’t have the insurance to do tumbles,” Sell said. “So we’re currently only doing cheers standing up that don’t last longer than a minute.”
They are performing at every home football game this fall season and are set to cheer basketball games this winter.
“We have a really fun time at football games,” Sypult said. “But I’m excited to see what the future holds.”
Due to COVID-19 precautions, they must wear masks when participating in indoor sports, though they do not have to wear masks when performing outside.
“Cheer keeps me in shape and helps me motivate our athletes,” Cruz said. “I love being a part of a team and bringing school spirit to our school because we need it.”