Thomas Jefferson

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Cheering on an Astounding Season

Posted 04/02/2024 by Riley Rimkus

The cheerleaders take home the first place trophy at league, kicking off the start to a very successful season. photo by Jocelyn Galindo

The TJ girls cheerleaders set new records in the 2023-2024 season, making the TJ community proud.

While TJ is filled with many extra curricular activities, one of the most successful teams is girls’ cheerleading. Fueled by a positive attitude, the team has continued to improve over the past few years. During the 2023 to 2024 season, the team reached the most success they have seen in Thomas Jefferson High School cheer history.

Highlighting their successes includes focusing on the DPS League cheer competition where the girls took first in the Game Day division. In a cheer competition, there are two divisions: Game Day and Traditional. The TJ girls do not compete in Traditional cheer, a competition that involves tumbling and harder stunts. Game day involves no tumbling and can be summarized as “a simulation of what a side line would be,” as stated by team captain junior Amaris Medina. In game day, there are three sections of your routine. The first is a band dance which moves into situational cheer. Situation cheer is when the announcers call if the team is on defense or offense, and then the athletes do a cheer with stunts based off of what was called. The final part of Game Day is the school fight song. 

At the DPS League meet, the Spartan Girls competed against a few other teams, with League being their second competition of the season. After placing second the previous two years, the girls finally took home the big trophy and made history with TJ’s first cheerleading League win. 

In prior years, TJ was focused on gaining a stronger program, which they have now successfully done while making a name for themselves. Driven by getting so close to first place, the girls let their craving for success take them all the way. Medina stated that winning first at league was her favorite moment of the season. She explained how the win was for all of the seniors and past team members who built up the program for the current girls. Medina states, “It was just a really amazing moment hearing your name called first because we just worked so hard up until that point.” 

One of the most significant factors that played into the success of the team was “the attitude and motivation,” which was evident in how the team continued to push forward. The competition following the League was Winter Blast, a competition that the team became grand champs in the previous year. Grand champs means that the team scored the highest in the competition. As a result, the girls hoped to repeat this successful win. While this unfortunately did not happen, the loss assisted in motivating the cheerleaders to succeed later at state. 

Winning state is a huge task, so the girls decided that they wanted to make a goal of placing in the top 15 to push everyone to their best. Placing not too far off, the girls were 18th out of around 42 competitive teams. This was yet another first for TJ Cheer history, as this was the highest the girls have ever placed at state. 

Outside of competitions, the team attends every home football game. They bring school spirit through Spartan chants and stunts in front of the student section. Each chant is led by the cheerleaders and follows the rule of three: each chant should be repeated three times. No more and no less. For basketball games, the set up is a little bit different. The girls are divided evenly among two teams titled A Team and B Team. Each team is equal in skill level; the girls are split up so not all 22 girls have to attend every game. Each team has one of the two team captains. The two groups take turns attending and hyping up the varsity boys and girls home basketball games. 

When talking about the impact of cheer on the community, this can be seen through excitement that can only be matched at a football game or watching the cheerleaders encourage the players on the basketball courts. However, cheer has also had an impact on the girls within the program. The sport teaches the girls to persevere in life when challenges are presented. Although the body and mind want to give up, cheer helps the girls to learn a different level of perseverance that can be applied outside of the school setting. Cheer teaches the athletes physical and mental strength when obstacles arise. Additionally, Medina mentioned how cheer and the team has personally impacted her as a captain. “Being a captain, you realize just the role model you are and how much people are paying attention to the work you’re putting in,” she explained, emphasizing that being a captain has allowed her to learn leadership skills that are beneficial on all paths in life. 

Cheer and its success has made the TJ community very proud, especially within the most recent season. While some of the cheerleaders will be graduating in 2024, the program will continue to grow and reach new levels of success. Everyone is very excited to see what comes in the 2024-2025 season.