Ability and desire
Published: October 25, 2006
To make the PJC cheerleading team, students must have cheerleading and tumbling skills and a desire to compete the rigorous training they encounter at every practice.
“Skills that are required to be a PJC cheerleader are strong motion techniques, a standing backhand spring, tumbling ability, jumps, good energy, and dancing routine memorization,” said LaRita Carter, cheerleading coach.
The mission of the PJC cheer squad is to support the athletic teams, assist in motivating the crowd, entertain the audience at games and at other school functions, as well as promote overall school spirit.
The cheerleaders cheer at all men’s and women’s basketball games.
“The cheerleaders will travel, and they cheer out on the floor the whole time during basketball games,” Carter said.
PJC cheerleader Devon Fuller noted the challenges associated with becoming a cheerleader.
“For some it’s hard to make the PJC cheerleading squad, but for some it’s not. You have to be able to tumble, and stunt fairly well, as well as have good jumps and motions. The hardest part about making the squad for most girls and guys is working around the demanding practice and workout schedule,” Fuller said.
Practices are held in Bldg. 19 every Thursday and Friday from 1 to 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 12 to 2 p.m. Two-hour cardiovascular and conditioning workouts are also done after every practice.
“During practices, we make up cheers and stunts to perform during time-outs and halftimes for the men’s and women’s basketball games,” Fuller said.
All cheerleaders must be enrolled in nine credit hours for spring and fall term, and they must maintain a 2.0 GPA. All cheerleaders must attend all practices and basketball games.
“Being a PJC cheerleader does get hard at times. Juggling a full school schedule along with part time jobs, the 10 hours of practice a week plus game time really adds up,” Fuller said.
“Also, the difference between high school cheerleading and PJC cheerleading is that we build more elite stunts, there is a lot less drama between the squad members, and PJC greatly supports the cheerleading program, unlike many high schools in the Pensacola area,” Fuller said.
Also different, there is only one cheerleading squad at PJC instead of having a JV and Varsity squad, as is common in high schools.
“Cheering at the basketball games is a lot of fun, especially when the crowd gets involved when the team is doing well,” Fuller said.
Scholarships are also available to the PJC cheerleaders.
“A $500 scholarship is given to the cheerleaders that cheer for PJC for two semesters,” Carter said.
Interested? Cheerleading tryouts will be held at the end of April, and all cheerleaders must have previous cheer experience. For further information contact La Rita Carter at 484-1310.