By Talbert Toole
Members of the Lafayette High School Cheer team currently have one goal on their minds—the 2019 UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship in Orlando, Florida.
After performing the team’s routine in three different competitions in the state, Lafayette received two bids from qualifying competitions. The first bid was clinched at the Mid-South Regional in Southaven on Oct. 27; the second bid was garnered at the Dixie Championship in Jackson on Dec. 1, according to Spirit Coordinator Alecia Russell.
Although competing at the national level for cheerleading is a once in a lifetime opportunity, it is also a costly one. The team is looking to the LOU community for donations in order to raise the $20,000 needed for travel, lodging and tickets.
Russell said the team still needs several thousand dollars to cover the expenses for all 26 cheerleaders before the Jan. 10 deadline. She said the team will be able to bond over this experience and make lifelong memories together if the team raises the appropriate amount of funds to participate.
“Nationals is such an iconic event to be a part of…it is magical and exciting,” Russell said.
The team began practicing their routine for this monumental experience this past summer. Throughout the fall the team continued to work on all elements of the routine, Russell said. The team will continue to practice the routine now that school has resumed from the holiday break in hopes to display their talent on the national level.
“Nationals not only grows [the cheerleaders] as athletes but also as individuals as they work hard all year long,” Russell said. “[They] develop commitment, teamwork and perseverance through tough times.”
Russell said she likes to see her cheerleaders’ hard work and dedication pay off, so for the chance to have this squad compete at the national level would be extremely exciting for her.