Elementary cheer clinic trains over 95 youngsters
Shouts and cheers echo across the football field as elementary girls mirror their high school coaches practicing for their halftime show, Sept. 22. Arms and limbs flail about as the girls test their flexibility and prepare to pep campus football fans.
Elementary students participate in their annual cheer clinic, Sept. 18-21. Girls varying in age from kindergarten all the way up sixth grade gather after school to begin the week.
Former varisty cheer coach, Eunie McEntee began the cheer clinic in 1985 after a successful career of teaching gymnastics for Clovis Schools in the 1970s. She transferred to FC to experience a small school, family atmosphere in 1982. After successfully running the cheer program, she stepped down from her position as FC’s head coach in 2000 and began assisting then-new head coach Katie Mendenhall through 2004.
Led by current varsity head coach Hope Villines, who took over the program 2015, and with the assistance of the varsity and junior high squads, elementary students get the opportunity to experience participating on a cheer team, become familiarized with the chants and embrace the attitude cheerleading requires. This is Villines third elementary cheer clinic.
At the end of the week, they put into practice the skills they learn during the next home football game against Mammoth. It’s elementary cheer night, Sept. 22, starting at 7 p.m.
This year, the clinic boasts 96 elementary students, an increase from last year’s attendance of 65. The event works to encourage lower elementary girls to join cheer in fifth grade and keep them in the program until high school.
My mom always tells me stories about her being a Fresno Christian cheerleader. I like to wear her old uniforms and want to be a real cheerleader someday, so I was really excited to be a part of the cheer clinic for the first time this year. I think it’s going to be so fun to cheer with my friends just like my mom did. — Taylee Yancey, third grade
Varsity cheer coach Villines sees cheer clinic as a great learning outreach opportunity. She explains the purpose of the clinic and also looks forward to the upcoming football game.
“In cheer clinic, we teach the younger girls cheers and a dance and we make it a really fun experience for them to get to cheer with the varsity cheerleaders,” Villines said. “We also get them ready for their huge debut this Friday night at the football game. At the game there will be over one hundred cheerleaders on the field who will lead cheers, a dance, call outs and stunts.
“The cheer clinic is open to outside schools, churches and organizations, but with our school growing we didn’t advertise it that way this year,” Villines continued. “A few girls heard about the clinic by word of mouth and we are open to everyone because it is a great outreach and witness opportunity. One way we make things, even more, fun is by giving each of the girls’ nicknames which brings them closer together.
Cheerleader and junior Amanda Grimmius enjoys teaching the girls dances and the energy the young cheerleaders offer.
“For me, the most fun is teaching the girls the dance because I love to dance. This clinic has exceeded my expectations, mainly because the girls are so enthusiastic and really do love cheer, so they make it a joy to teach them.” Grimmius said. “I’m looking forward to the rest of the football games this year as well as competition season.”
Former campus cheerleader and mother of a third grader, Teryn Yancey, ‘05, reflects on the impact that the schools cheer program has had on her and now her daughter.
“For almost a decade of my life I was a cheerleader,” Yancey said. “Three of those being on the FCS varsity cheer squad coached by Mrs. Mac and Katie Mendenhall. I can still remember the very first day that I walked into cheer practice as a new high school student. Mrs. Mac welcomed me with so much love and excitement. She called me her little miracle. I will never forget that.
“After graduation, and with much inspiration from Katie,” Yancey continued, “I continued my love of cheerleading and became the FCS elementary coach. To this day I have such fond memories of my years spent as an Eagle cheerleader and I feel so blessed and nostalgic as I watch my own third-grade daughter participate in the elementary cheer clinic just as I did in the fifth grade.”
Yancey’s daughter, Taylee, ‘27, finds excitement in participating in a sport passed on through generations.
“My mom always tells me stories about her being a Fresno Christian cheerleader,” Taylee said. “I like to wear her old uniforms and want to be a real cheerleader someday, so I was really excited to be a part of the cheer clinic for the first time this year. I think it’s going to be so fun to cheer with my friends just like my mom did.”
Campus students of all grades hope to see their grandparents in class, Friday, Sept. 22. This is because of Grandparents Day where grandparents get to experience the daily school lives of their grandkids. After school, they get the opportunity to go out and see these girls support their school. Grandparents, consider yourselves invited!
For more articles read Home Ec. teacher looks forward to second year on campus. For more about the campus cheer squad, read Cheerleading: An inside look.
Slideshow below includes images from elementary Cheer Clinic.Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.
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