On a warm July evening, chants of “P-H-S” echoed off the gymnasium walls of Palestine High School. Voices of 81-1 plus girls, kindergarten through 12th grade, roared into the stands as parents watched their kids showcase their school pride. The younger groups mirrored Palestine's current high school cheer squads as they performed new cheers, dances, and stunts.
PHS concluded their mini-cheer camp Wednesday. The three-day camp offered an opportunity for younger girls across Palestine to spend time with both the varsity and junior varsity cheer teams.
It also served as a fundraiser for the cheer team and a chance for team members to do an outreach with the community. The team hopes the few days the girls spend learning new dances and cheers will spark an interest in becoming a cheerleader.
“When they're that young they look up to the cheerleaders,” Cheer Coach Angie Gilbert said. “They enjoy the girls teaching them and being able to interact with them.”
Coach Gilbert has now headed the cheer camp for four years and the turnout has steadily grown since she arrived. A hour watching the girls practice and it's not hard to decipher why the young girls enjoy being around the team.
A look of pure joy radiated off the faces of each mini-cheerleader as they performed in front of their parents. Their smiles seemed infectious. Behind every phone that recorded their performance was a smile looking onto the court.
In addition to their final-day performance, the little cheerers will have their night in the spotlight alongside the varsity cheer team. During Palestine's first home football game of the season, the mini-cheerleaders will be trackside dancing along with the high school's cheer squad.