Captain of the cheer team senior Brenda Cornelio doesn’t believe a lot of people see the full picture when they think about cheerleading. “Most people only see the cheer side to cheerleading where we stand on the sidelines and cheer up the crowd or support the team playing,” she said. “What most don’t see is the competition aspect.” This year, the cheer team qualified for Nationals and competed against other teams from all across the country. Cornelio believes that one of the most harmful misconceptions around cheerleading is that it’s not a sport. “We condition just like any other sport and we practice really hard just like any other sport,” she said.
Freshman Dana Souter worries that stereotypes will discourage people from trying out. “The basic high school cheerleading stereotype is often that cheerleader girls are skinny, dumb and blonde,” Souter said. She emphasized how cheerleading is a sport where anyone can succeed, and how nobody has to conform to the stereotype in order to join. “To combat stereotypes such as these, it’s important to encourage diversity in sports and clubs,” she said. “Trying out for an activity that you’ve never done before or is outside of your comfort zone is a good place to start.”