Senior continues to lead by example
Sports teams involve many students on campus. However, on most athletic teams, the season only lasts a few months. Cheer is an exception to this, as it continues throughout the school year. A rigorous schedule and months of demanding work require team leaders, such as senior Carlee Whipple.
A member of the FC cheer program since eighth grade, Whipple looks forward to enjoying another year on the squad, only this time as a senior and co-captain. She hopes to make more memories with the team while also succeeding in their competitions.
However, even before she was officially a part of the cheer team, Whipple showed an interest in cheer from a young age. In preschool, she participated in the UpWard program and also took part in the junior cheer clinic on campus in elementary school.
Whipple’s mom, Darbee Whipple, has enjoyed seeing her daughter grow both physically and mentally through the cheer program.
“I have enjoyed watching her grow into the most amazing and wonderful young woman,” Darbee said. “The Lord has blessed us so with the ability to attend this school. I’ve seen her improve through her tenacity to keep going even though it hurts, her love for others, and her desire to encourage others to succeed.”
Carlee loves competition. Seeing her perform on the mat in this environment is pretty special. Carlee is not intimidated by a crowd, in fact, she thrives on it. She doesn’t get nervous, she just goes out to every game, performance or competition and brings 110 percent. — Coach Hope Villines
Coach Hope Villines loves Whipple’s hard work and passion for the sport. She believes Whipple is a great mentor to younger members of the team.
“Carlee brings so much to this varsity cheer team,” Villines said. “Her voice is by far the strongest on the team. Her strength of motion, spirit, smile and apparent love for the sport causes her teammates to strive to be better. Carlee is an amazing leader and encourager.”
Whipple hopes to bond with her teammates this season and act as a mentor to her younger peers.
“I have been involved in cheerleading since eighth grade year and (Coach) Hope was one of the only reasons why I joined,” Whipple said. “This year I’m a base, so I feel like I’ve gotten a whole lot stronger, because freshmen year I couldn’t even lift up a pencil off the ground but I can lift a person now. My goal is that we mesh as a sisterhood and that we are able to come together and if we need help with anything we will be able to talk to each other.”
Whipple’s energy and passion for the sport rubs off on her teammates, as she often encourages them and rallies them together. Fellow co-captain and friend, Lauryn Tucker, ‘18, enjoys spending time with Whipple on and off the cheer team.
“Carlee is so energetic and knows how to bring up everyone’s mood,” Tucker said. “She encourages her teammates through practices and brings excitement to everything she does. Carlee is an outgoing girl with a big personality and an unforgettable laugh. I hope to grow closer as friends and in our walk with God this year as seniors.”
While many students only see the cheer team performing at football or basketball games, they also compete in their own cheer competitions. Whipple and the team have found success in previous years of competition and hope to come out victorious again this year.
Coach Villines believes Whipple shines under the pressure of competition, and therefore counts on her to help lead the younger members of the squad during their routines.
“Carlee loves competition,” Villines said. “Seeing her perform on the mat in this environment is pretty special. Carlee is not intimidated by a crowd, in fact, she thrives on it. She doesn’t get nervous, she just goes out to every game, performance or competition and brings 110 percent.”
Whipple is also a “lifer” on campus, meaning she has attended the school since kindergarten (and in Whipple’s case, since preschool). She has enjoyed her time at FC and looks forward to her senior year with her friends.
“I love that the school is smaller because you know everyone here and you are not so confined to your small group,” Whipple said. “I would completely always come to this school again (if given the chance to start over). This school has been my life since preschool. I love how my mom works here and it’s just perfect for me.”
According to Villines, Whipple feels more like a family member than a student.
“Sometimes as a coach, your athletes become family,” Villines said. “It has been a blessing to be Carlee’s coach. I know Carlee will be in my life no matter where God takes her after FCS.”
Coach Villines shares advice for Whipple about her future after high school and encourages her to live life to its fullest.
“Carlee, always strive to be who God wants you to be,” Villines said. “Never settle for anything less than giving Him your best. Whether that is how you apply yourself in college, relationships, friendships, and your outlook on life, Keep smiling! Life is going to throw you some curve balls lil one, knock those curve balls out of the park! Love You!”
Be sure to support the FC cheer team by encouraging them at games and at competitions throughout the year! Also come watch the varsity girls as they lead the elementary cheer during the football game, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. The ‘littles’ will put on quite a show at halftime between the Eagles and Mammoth.
Do you have any memories about Whipple you would like to share? Leave a comment below!
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