Senior Sara Kesterson has been a member of the PHS cheer squad since her junior high days after a friend of hers convinced her to try out.
“I originally tried out just because my friend said it’d be fun, and I didn’t think anything of it. After I made the team, however, I discovered that I actually enjoyed cheerleading. I fell in love, and I have been cheering ever since,” said Kesterson.
Kesterson started as a backspot for the squad but moved the being a base her freshman year. Currently, Kesterson moves between the two positions and helps as needed.
“In all of my years of cheering, I have only participated in one season of football, in ninth grade. I only cheered during basketball season the other five years,” said Kesterson.
Kesterson permanently switched to a basketball season cheerleader after her former coach, guidance counselor Brandi Kerley, suggested she do so to allow her to play volleyball in the fall and cheer in the winter.
Kesterson’s favorite memory as a cheerleader has been her time at the Universal Cheerleaders Association, or UCA, camps she has been to. During these camps, cheerleaders stay for three days at Indiana University Bloomington to learn dances, chants and cheers leading up to a performance.
“Our team was able to work one-on-one with actual UCA cheerleaders. They adapted to each squad’s wants and needs. While we were there, we did fun bonding activities to take breaks from the hard work we were doing,” said Kesterson. “I loved the entire atmosphere of the camp. Everyone there had one thing in common: cheer. It was easy to make friends and get along with other squads.”
In the future, Kesterson plans to attend Indiana University to study journalism or communications, but she does not intend to continue cheering. As Kesterson leaves her career as a cheerleader behind, she will miss her squad most, along with the fans she has got to cheer with for the past five years.
“I’m going to miss the bonds I have made with a lot of the girls I have cheered with over the years. Knowing I won’t be in front of a crowd on games days will feel so foreign to me because I have been doing it for years. Putting together stunts for starting lineup and seeing fans stand up and sing with us during the school song are two other events I’ll most definitely miss,” said Kesterson.
Story by Rebekah Reeves