Is 1st Worth The Cost?

by omni

Is School’s Decision Recognition or Punishment? Are cheerleading competitions causing tension at your school? One school’s cheerleading squad faces what they believe are devastating consequences for their decision to skip some games to practice for competitions: the introduction of a separate team, the Spirit Squad, to take their place at games. The cheerleaders will continue to participate in competitions, but if they want to cheer at games they will have to try out for the Spirit Squad. If they make it, they could face scheduling conflicts when trying to fit in school, work and other sports. Not to mention the additional team fees and the cost of new uniforms. So…is this a move in the right direction for getting cheerleading recognized as a sport? Or is it a set back that proves the discrimination that cheer squads face compared to other athletic teams? Read the full story from The Delaware County Daily Times below, then sound off in the comments section. O’Hara’s decision draws jeers not cheers from cheerleaders By LESLIE KROWCHENKO, Times Correspondent MARPLE ” ” In her first year on the varsity cheerleading squad, Cardinal O’Hara High School senior Victoria Rossillio had been looking forward to performing flips and tumbles at the Lions’ stadium. It appears she may not have the chance. In a conclusion explained to the girls and their parents Tuesday night, the school’s administration has decided the newly formed Spirit Squad, rather than the cheerleaders, will ignite the crowd during football and boys and girls basketball games. The cheerleaders will continue to perform in competitions. “The purpose of this meeting is to reiterate what was expressed in our emails,” said Principal Marie Rogai. “We want to explain the rationale in person.” The change was based on a concern from the administration that the cheerleaders have not been performing the duties requested of them, “first and foremost to cheer at football and basketball games,” said Rogai. The time commitment required to prepare for the competitions is significant and conflicted with that needed to root for the teams. Last winter, the 24 cheerleaders chose to split into groups of eight to perform at basketball games. The change was an attempt to offer support and spirit while accommodating their practice schedule for competition. The approach did not work, said Rogai, as the girls neither led cheers nor performed halftime routines. “I attended every home basketball game, expecting to see some change, and saw none,” said Rogai. “I discussed with girls at two separate games why they were just sitting in the stands in their uniforms and they told me, “We just want to do competitions.'” As a remedy, the administration proposed the formation of a Spirit Squad to cheer at football and basketball games and other sporting events at the request of the athletic department or administration. The process began in May to define the parameters of the squad and hire a coach. The cheerleading coach was notified at the same time, said Rogai, but the girls and their parents were apparently not contacted until mid-July, shortly before cheerleading tryouts. Some learned of the change from the school website. “There was a disconnect,” said Rogai. “I agree with the fact it was not handled as well as it could have been.” The meeting, which was not intended to be an open forum, did not live up to its billing. Joined by Athletic Director Stephen Langley and Assistant Principal for Student Affairs Ed Allen, Rogai barely completed her prepared statement when mothers and fathers barraged the trio with questions. The queries began with Kevin Colgan, who noted “all the girls want is a compromise.” “The Spirit Squad is a good idea, but the cheerleaders are passionate about what they do,” he added. “Let them cheer at football.” While the girls may try out for the Spirit Squad, the parents argued it was not an appropriate solution. In addition to their studies, some have part-time jobs, and involvement in an additional extracurricular activity would increase their responsibilities and after-school practice time. They added that participation in another activity would also hike the “pay to play” fee and require the purchase of additional uniforms. While one of the main concerns appeared to be lack of support for the basketball teams, Laura Pfeffinger questioned the backing, or lack thereof, for the cheerleaders. “They are supposed to be there for the other sports,” she said. “Who comes to our competitions?” The meeting, which ended abruptly, continued in the hallway, but without the resolution the parents and their daughters sought. “I waited all this time to be on varsity and be out on the track during the football games,” said Rossillio. “We are the ones who will suffer.”

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