By Courtney Warren
While the varsity football players are putting in the work on the field, the Canton Academy cheer squad plays a huge role on the sidelines.
From late night cheer practices and DIY projects to ensure the team feels important and supported, the CA cheer squad has a passion for the game.
Senior cheer captain Reese Willis said, “Cheering for CA is special for me, because I just love the atmosphere of Fridays at the big CA. Friday is the one day of the week everyone looks forward to as a child in elementary school to even high schoolers. I feel this is different compared to most schools, because, when you go to a tiny school like CA, everyone becomes family. And you get to support all of your ‘family’ members, which creates a bond that most people don’t get to have with the coaching staff, players, and even cheerleaders.”
Cheering for CA her entire education career, Willis had big dreams for her future as a CA cheerleader.
“Since I was little I’ve always dreamed of being cheer captain. It has been one of my goals since I cheered in 8th grade. When I finally was named captain I realized my passion. I didn’t want to be captain so I could have the title, I wanted to be captain because I wanted this squad to be different from all the others. I wanted a personal relationship with each girl, I wanted to come home from cheer camp with all of the awards, I wanted the girls to feel confident in their performance and in themselves.
“And let me tell you, this group of girls is all ive ever wanted. They arent just my squad members, they are my best friends. The group I can count on for anything, who will always be there for me. They have the grit, determination, and work ethic to not only be the best for themselves, but for the whole team. I didn’t want this year to be all about me, I wanted it to be all about them. And that is where my passion comes from. To my CA cheer squad, you have no idea how much I love each and every one of you.”
Willis has attended CA her entire life, with her parents attending CA themselves. Even though the year and season has just begun, she is already anticipating her final walk down the halls. As cheer captain, she hopes to leave behind only good memories and influences.
“When people watch me cheer, I hope they see that being a cheerleader is more than just wearing the uniform and cheering on the sidelines. What people don’t know is that it takes many practices and hours after practice to learn the material, make signs, hang up locker signs, to fill goody bags, to decorate the gym for pep rallies - and that is just to name a few of the things we do. Being a cheerleader is much more difficult than it seems, but I wouldn’t want to trade it for anything. CA cheer, I love you.”