Review: The History of High School Cheerleading

by omni

The conversation of high school brings up an array of emotions for different people, whether they are upcoming students or graduated alumni. For many, high school is commonly associated with things like applying to college, going to prom, making friends, joining student government, and of course, cheerleading! What once began as a college-oriented activity, cheerleading has become a dominating factor in shaping many high school experiences around the world. According to the National Federal of State High School Associations, the number of high school cheerleaders from public high schools is nearly 400,000! I guess it’s safe to say, cheerleading has a contagious spirit. Cheerleading began entering high schools in the United States in the 1920s, and closely resembled the yell-squad style of cheerleading that was popular at the college level at the time. At this time, cheerleading was still an all-male sport! It wasn’t until that late 1920s that high schools began allowing females to join cheerleading teams. Females introduced basic cheerleading motions, which advanced to the moves and stunts that are familiar to us today. In high school, today’s cheerleading teams are comprised of two separate teams: varsity and junior varsity. New members are placed on the basis of skill and experience. However this varies from school to school, as some high schools also include entry-level teams in order to allow new members to develop a sense of skill and athletic maturity. High school cheerleading try outs typically start in the spring, with practice going well into the summer in order to prepare for fall and winter sports, as well as cheer competitions. During the school year, practices usually happen five to six days a week, generally increasing to two practices a day during competition season. High school cheerleaders dedicate their time and effort to practicing, coming up with routines to perform at competitions and school-related events. Additionally, cheerleading teams aim to advance their league titles and eligibility to competing in national competitions. High school cheerleading teams are, therefore, a year-round sport, as cheerleaders are apart of year-round activities such as cheering on football or basketball players at their respective games, rallying and pumping up the crowd at pep rallies, as well as participating in extracurricular cheer competitions. Cheerleading teams are an integral part of high schools, serving as the driving forces of school spirit; therefore, it’s important for cheerleaders to stay dedicated and practice all year long!

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