At the Universal Cheerleader Association (UCA) Camp at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM), the CA Panthers cleaned up in regards to awards and recognition for their spirit, dedication, and bleeding black and gold.
Dressed as bananas and hoarse from their cheers, the squad was awarded the Banana Award, which is given to the school that shows the most spirit throughout the entire week. CA has won the Banana for five years in a row.
Cheer Captain Starr Spivey said, “Camp at USM was the best cheer camp we’ve attended. Staying in the dorm and bonding with our JV cheer squad and other schools was so much fun.”
Spivey was given several accolades, including an invitation to be a UCA instructor and the Pin It Forward award.
The Pin It Forward award is a program at the UCA camp that recognizes standout cheerleaders who portray the characteristics of leadership, spirit, commitment, kindness and motivation. Once a cheerleader receives the two pins, they will find another cheerleader who demonstrates those same qualities and “Pin It Forward.” Spivey, senior Maggie Claire Thomas, and freshman Amelia Cook all received Pin It Forward awards.
“I felt very honored and excited to be awarded the Pin It Forward award by a UCA instructor. We all worked very hard all week, and I did my best to be a leader for my squad. The next day, I pinned it forward to a girl from Grenada because of her hard work and great attitude,” said Spivey.
Senior Cheer Co-Captain Maggie Claire Thomas was also invited to try out for UCA Cheerleader and was given the Pin It Forward Award.
“We went with the main goal of doing our best and bringing home the Banana. We had to overcome losing a cheerleader, and one of our main flyers was sick and couldn’t stunt. We showed up and took home the Banana, the overall spirit stick, the first night. We did great in all of our evaluations, as well,” said Thomas.
Six Panthers made All-American Cheerleader, including Spivey, Thomas, Reese Willis, Ashlyn Thompson, Finley Ezell and Emma Lane Martens. The junior varsity Panthers also had six members make All-American, including Gates Welch, Mary Alice Holmes, Amelia Cook, Reagan Taylor, Lila Thomas and Maggie Penn.
At the final day of camp, the squads competed with routines they’d learned and practiced all week.
The junior varsity won first place in sideline and first place in camp routine.
The varsity won first for cheer, fourth for sideline, and fourth for camp routine.
The squad also took home the Traditions Trophy for the best hometown tradition in their division.
“We had the best time at camp and can’t wait for the pep rallies and Friday night lights,” said Thomas.
Team sponsor Mary Morgan Reams was filled with pride when talking about her cheerleaders. “It was an amazing week! CA walked away with twelve All-American Cheerleaders and many more awards. These ladies did so awesome, and I could not be more proud of them. We had busted lips, busted noses, blisters, backaches, headaches, and more; but they all kept their spirits up and had the best attitude. We even had a cheerleader, Madi, that was under the weather yet still showed up every day, dressed as a banana, and ready to cheer on her team. I’m blown away by all of their accomplishments, and I know that Canton Academy left a huge impression at camp. It’s one we can be very proud of.”
Reams cheered the praises of her captain and co-captain and said, “Starr and Maggie Claire pushed their squad to success. They acted crazy for that Banana, were great leaders, worked hard, and never lost that positive attitude. I am so honored to be their coach.”
Canton Academy cheerleaders will hit the sidelines for Meet the Panthers on August 7 and their first football game against Sylva Bay Academy at Sylva Bay on August 13.