Homewood High School’s competition cheerleading team competed at the Alabama High School Athletic Association State Championship and earned fourth place out of 25 teams in the 6A division! In the two short years of this program’s existence, the team has gone from eighth place in its region to fourth place in the state of Alabama. Here, coaches Rachel Loughney and Shea Allan describe the character that defines the program.
What about Homewood High School’s cheerleading program sets it apart from others in the area?
Homewood Cheerleading is unique because our team members are more than just cheerleaders. Here at Homewood, many (if not most) of our cheerleaders are involved in SGA, show choir, volleyball, softball, soccer, track, bowling, tennis and many other clubs and extracurriculars. The entire athletic department is so good about creating flexibility for our students to be involved in a number of activities across campus. Other schools in the area rarely allow enough flexibility for cheerleaders to participate in other activities or sports.
What does it mean to wear the Homewood High School cheer uniform?
Wearing the Homewood High School cheer uniform represents so much more than just the individual or the squad in that moment. Homewood is rich with tradition and excellence, and our cheerleading program in particular has maintained the traditions and rituals that it established decades ago. This program is one of a kind because it draws from the traditions of the past while also constantly evolving and innovating our practices. We saw a need to create an outlet for our cheerleaders to compete their skills and talents, so we started a competition team within the program. In the last four years, we’ve had five cheerleaders go on to cheer at Division I universities across the country.
Homewood’s cheer program is very competitive. How does it feel to be a part of such an elite organization?
The first thing that comes to mind when we think about being a part of Homewood cheerleading is pride. Our program exists to do more than just create talented cheerleaders. Our goal is to graduate young men and women of character who bring enthusiasm, strong work ethic and servant leadership with them into their next chapters of life. We are so proud of the number of things that we can accomplish as a squad due to the team members’ time management skills, prioritization and genuine love for Homewood.
What events will the team be participating in to give back to the community?
Throughout the year, the Homewood cheerleading program finds ways to give back to the community through engagement and appearances at Homewood events. You can find us at all the Homewood parades, hosting clinics for kids in elementary schools and cheering for almost every sport Homewood has to offer. At Christmastime each year, the three squads (varsity, junior varsity and freshmen) get to pick their own service project to participate in to give back. In years past, we have written letters to soldiers, volunteered at women’s shelters and sponsored whole Angel Trees (just to name a few).
If a student is interested in joining, what information does he or she need to know?
If a student is interested in joining the program, they should know that we host tryouts each spring for upcoming 9th through 12th graders. We evaluate participants based on their jumps, tumbling, dance and crowd-leading skills. Each cheerleader who is currently in the program has some sort of cheer, dance or gymnastics background and has been working for several years to perfect their skills. As coaches, we love the tryout season because we get to see the girls and guys at their very best as they hope to make the squad.