Bring It On: Covid Edition

By: Gabby Palacios

The PHS Varsity cheer team pictured with their awards from the last day of camp.

Every summer, the PHS cheerleaders attend a 4-Day Overnight camp with the Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) and prepare for the upcoming season. However, due to Covid-19, the teams were unable to travel for camp, so the camp was brought to them.

Throughout the span of three days, the cheerleaders and mascots spent 8 hours a day learning a cheer, multiple chants, band dances, and two Extreme Routines. They also participated in leadership training to learn how to be great role models to the community, understand the sports they cheer for, and recognize what it means to be a cheerleader.

Every day, after long hours of tough work and team bonding, daily awards, varying from skill-based to fun contests, were given out. On the last day, the honorary All-American Award tryouts took place. For these tryouts, participants must perform the All-American cheer, one Extreme Routine Dance, and a jump of their choice. Any contestant who receives the award has the opportunity to travel with fellow UCA All-American cheerleaders and participate in special events, including the Varsity Spirit London Tour, where they perform in a Christmas Parade. This year, sophomore Brooke Rankin, juniors Linda Sanchez and Noelani Guerrero, and seniors Gabby Palacios, Lynda Rodriguez, Diya Chandra, and Erica Santee received the All-American award.

Junior Linda Sanchez, explains, “In my previous two years we’ve gone to an away camp so we got to meet new people and experience new teams and how they perform… We got to interact more as a team [at away camps.] This year doing an at home camp, it was different getting to know each other…”

Although they were unable to experience getting to know other teams, this allowed them to take a step back and work on building a new foundation for the team based on teamwork, friendship, and communication. “In past years, people were so caught up in wanting to hang out and meet people from other teams, that they neglected to get to know their own teammates. It was more hanging out with your specific friend groups rather than a team bonding experience. This year, I truly felt that I got to know everyone, for the most part, and bond with them as a team,” states an anonymous senior.

Although this year’s camp was different from what the team was used to, they learned a lot of new material and continue to work on and improve the skills of the team. Wishing you all a good rest of the season!


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