Personal cheering for Lady Blue Devils
By By Matthew Nascone
Recently the 2006-07 Escambia County High School cheerleading squad hosted a visitor in the school's library. The place where students go to escape the hustle and bustle of a busy school day was anything but quiet on July 20-21.
Instead of traveling to a Universal Cheerleaders Association summer camp this year, Treavie Ainsworth, the ECHS cheer sponsor, brought the camp to Atmore.
"This is the first time in the recent past we have had a private UCA camp," Ainsworth said. "Traveling to a camp every year had become such a burden, so now we will alternate every year going to a public camp and having a private camp. The private camps are much easier to deal with and it is more of a one-on-one atmosphere. It is an awesome experience overall."
Ainsworth added that the atmosphere is much more relaxed at a private camp because it is only one squad as compared to about 50 squads at a public camp.
Hanna Hixon, a recent high school graduate and instructor with UCA, came to Atmore to show the ECHS cheerleaders some new moves.
"This group learned everything so fast and they have learned four cheers, six chants and three dances," Hixon said.
UCA is located in Memphis, Tenn. and is the governing body for competitive cheerleading at the high school and college levels.
Ainsworth said four of the ECHS girls were named Camp All-Stars and will have the opportunity to march in the Christmas parade in London this year if they can raise the money for the trip. Tamekia Boggan, Ashleigh Taylor, Michaela Norman and Josulyn Marshall were named to the All-Star team.
Hixon also named the girls a superior squad and for that honor the ECHS squad will travel to an NCAA bowl game at the end of the year and be part of the halftime show. Ainsworth said the squad will also be performing at halftime during the Sept. 23 matchup between Auburn University and the University of Buffalo in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
The camp was a success according to Ainsworth and she said the girls learned a lot of important information.
Ainsworth said this year's squad was intrigued by the successful jump senior Jade Williams, of last year's squad, made from high school cheerleading to college cheerleading when she signed a scholarship to Faulkner State Community College. And this spurred the girls to take a gymnastics class.
"The girls saw her sign this year and they saw that she was the only one with any kind of tumbling experience," Ainsworth said. "And that is needed at most schools these girls are interested in furthering their cheer careers at. So we have been going to a gymnastics class at Pensacola Junior College over the summer."
And when the summer rolls into the fall, there will be one thing on these girl's minds.
"We are also getting ready for football season and the girls are excited," Ainsworth said. "They are super enthusiastic for the season and ready to work hard. And that is one thing about this group of girls, I don't have to push them to work hard, they do it on their own and that is great."