The Prairie City cheerleading team fires up the Panther sports fans with cheers, jumps, stunts and dance routines at the games as well as pep assemblies and homecoming rallies.
This year’s nine cheerleaders, led by head coach Jill Wright, also found time to give back.
Each collected funds during a “Miracle Minute” on Friday, supporting breast cancer awareness, during Prairie City’s homecoming match against Dayville/Monument at the Panther gym. The fundraiser was led by Prairie City senior Shaine Madden, a volleyball player, for her senior project, and the funds will help patients pay for mammograms at Blue Mountain Hospital in John Day.
The cheer team, along with the Panther mascot, also supported preschool and elementary school participants in the Oct. 16 Prairie City Panthers Jog-a-thon, which benefits the school’s Parent Teacher Association.
Senior Shaelynn Bice is cheerleading captain, and four of the cheerleaders are members of the volleyball team, including seniors Emily Ennis and Aleah Johns and freshmen Kaitlynne Ashley and BettyAnn Wilson. Cheerleaders also include two juniors, Aries Bice and Caitlin Willet, and one sophomore, Tianna Lawrence.
Bice is in her third year of cheerleading.
She and the other cheerleaders organized a homecoming pep assembly, which included nine cheers, two dance routines and games involving the students.
Bice said homecoming week went off with a big bang, noting a day was dedicated to decorating trucks and trailers with students riding the floats through town followed by a noise parade and bonfire.
She said she’s enjoying having a big group on the cheer team this year.
“We’re able to pull up big stunts that we haven’t been able to do in the past,” she said. “With a total of nine girls there’s a lot we can do.”
She added, “I’m just overall really happy with how our season turned out and really glad to have so many girls for my last year of cheering.”
Wright said the cheerleaders will support the football team and the basketball team — though there may be different girls on the team for each season.
She likes the girls to focus on “a clean finish and sharp, clean movements” as they cheer.
When the Panthers score a touchdown, the girls share the excitement with moves such as the pencil, Herkie, toe touch and star jumps.
They also present dance routines and stunts, such as a pyramid formation, during halftime.
Wright said they’re always learning new cheers and adding to the mix.
“We always want to build,” she said. “I ask the girls what we’re going to do to top it.”
She said she’s received many compliments and positive comments about her team.
“My heart overflows with pride,” she said.