Saint Clement Parish schools introduced a new sport to their list of extracurricular activities this past fall season. The athletic department, along with devoted parents/family members, sparked ideas to incorporate the elementary school more closely with the Jr./Sr. high. It all started off during football season this past September…
I, Alyssa Yenowskas, am currently a sophomore attending Saint Clement High School. Being a cheerleader for the Anchormen has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. As I cheered on the sidelines during those late-night, weekend football games, I noticed the little voices behind me attempting to repeat the words and moves I was doing. From those days forward, I knew that I had to find a way to get those girls by my side, alongside a team. That is when talk of a “Pep Squad” came to mind.
After some meetings and planning, Mr. Murphy (athletic director) and I built something great. We gathered a list of names of children in grades 2-5 that were interested in the sport, and the outcome was incredible. The team started off as ten girls and myself as their coach. After our first practice, I saw the inexplicable potential and excitement these girls had. I knew that with some time and hard work, I could create something amazing.
Weeks went by and things only got better. The full capacity of our team for our first year (2013-14) was fourteen girls. As a team, we traveled to each home game in support of the girl’s basketball team. We proudly sported our uniform T-shirts and “Anchor pride” jumpsuits that were a result of our successful team canning (form of fundraising). My girls and I were honored when we were asked to travel with the boys basketball team on their journey to the State Championship, including a game at the TD Garden. The girls absolutely glowed and lit up when the were allowed to cheer on the floor the Boston Celtics play on. It was an utter privilege to watch them shine.
As our season came to an end, I− along with help from parents− put together a small sports banquet for the kids. Each child received a Certificate of Completion and a trophy during their “last practice” pizza party. Taking on the title of “Coach” held huge responsibility for me, but I am so fortunate that I was allowed the opportunity to teach these girls. Each time I watched my girls practice a cheer after school or successfully do them at half-time, I was overjoyed. I knew that I had done my job; I was able to allow these little girls’ dreams come true. I hope that one day they will follow in my footsteps and decide to join the high school cheering team that I take part in. All that I can say is that I cannot wait to start a new season in the fall− hopefully with all the old faces, and many new ones!
P.S. Pep Squad is not only a sport for little girls. Next year, I hope to expand the program to boys who would like to show their support for the Saint Clement Basketball teams. Sign up information soon to follow.
Written by Coach of the Pep Squad