JBS Cheerleaders Take Center Stage


Carrie Zhang, Reporter

They dance; they cheer; they support the school and rally the crowds at games. They are our cheerleaders.

One of their duties as cheerleaders is to help prepare the school for major events such as Spirit Week and Dance Marathon. Every year, their biggest responsibilities occur around Spirit Week. They hang up posters, perform in assembly and at Pep Rally, distribute candy, and support the football players on Saturday at the long-awaited Burroughs vs. MICDS game. Unlike some other schools, the Burroughs cheerleaders do not compete in competitions or perform stunts and gymnastics tricks. For years, they have stuck with the traditional cheers and basic dancing routines.

Yet times have changed with the arrival of Dr. Sara Jay, a first-year history teacher at Burroughs and seasoned cheerleader herself. Jay participated on cheer competition teams in both high school and college. Jay recalls that during her job interview with headmaster Andy Abbott, “[Abbott] asked if [cheerleading] would be something that I’d be interested in pursuing when I got here, and I said, ‘Sure!’”

Her own experience with cheerleading has been vastly different from cheerleaders at Burroughs. Jay describes her experience: “Our main job wasn’t to cheer on the boys’ football team and boys’ basketball team, even though that was a part of what we did. Our main sort of thing was that we went to these competitions.”

After Jay arrived at Burroughs, she worked with coach Margaret Clark, who has been coaching the cheerleaders for the past ten years. Jay says that her goals were simple: “I just wanted to one: teach them stunts because that to me defines cheerleading, not just sideline chants. And number two: I wanted them to feel like a team in their own right, not just a group of girls that cheer on boys.”

However, Jay also notes that the girls themselves were ready for a change. They wanted to work hard. They wanted to update some cheers. Competitions were a possibility in the future. Cheerleader Arieyanna Davis ‘20 states, “The addition of a new coach who was an experienced competitive cheerleader allowed us to implement more stunts.”

Furthermore, cheerleaders are finally being given the opportunity to focus more on this new skill set. In the past, it has always been required for high schoolers to participate in a sport, even if a student was a cheerleader. Starting next year, though, cheerleading will be offered as a fitness credit, giving the cheerleaders the opportunity to concentrate on cheering and improving their skills.

Jay says that, after talking and working with the girls for several months now, “What’s been the most rewarding part of joining the team is obviously getting to know the girls, but also how excited they are by the skills that they are learning but then also the school’s reaction to the skills that they’re using.” Cheerleader Emory Sigmund ‘20 states, “It really does impress everyone, and it is so much fun for the team to do as a whole and bond together.”

The cheerleaders have showcased their newfound talents and skills at games, pep rallies, and assemblies. Jay hopes that younger girls will continue to show up for tryouts and participate: “Enjoy it. Join the team. We have so much fun together, and we work really hard.”