The Grove Middle School Cheer Squad doesn't mind that they seem to shadow the high school cheerleaders. They just love to cheer. And their level of experience goes from just starting last year to cheering since they were four years old.
If you ask them if cheering is a sport, look out! These seventh and eighth graders won't hesitate to tell you all the reasons they believe it's a sport while showing off their scars and injuries from cheer. Many of them cheer not only for the school, but also competitively.
All but one or two said they also play other school sports. Some play volleyball, softball, basketball and run track. Others are looking forward to high school where they can play tennis and golf.
"It's hard. We work really hard at safety and taking care of each other," said several of the girls as they talk about how cheering is a team effort.
One of the girls bragged about her Facebook status that says, "If cheerleading were easy they would call it football."
They love every aspect of it from stunts to tumbling, but all agreed their favorite part of being on the squad is Friday's at school. They go to each hallway and conduct pep rallies.
"We go around and bring spirit and do the fight song for every single hallway," said one of the eight graders. "And the band follows us and we go around and get everyone fired up," said another. "It's like party in the hallway!" added another.
The cheerleaders would like to tell younger girls, who hope to cheer one day to keep practicing, keep trying and never give up. "Basically just have faith in yourself," said one.
The girls take this job very seriously. "We are role models and leaders. Even if you are in a bad mood, you have to smile and be spirited," they all agreed.
Each of the nine eight graders said they will definitely try out next year for high school cheer.
Grove Middle School Team Roster for the 2011-2012 school year
Sponsor - Shannon Johnson
Eighth Graders - Abigail Johnson, Michelle Deason, Brooklyn Grant, Taylor Smith, Madyson Wakeland, Katelyn Wilkins, Dakota Cochran, Krista Vitro, Jessica Beers (not pictured).
Seventh Graders - Brooke Spriggs, Stevie Elkins, Lexi Benson, Mikela Cooper, Rachel Butts, Jordan Ryan.