“My background in cheer goes back to the days when I cheered in high school and that’s been just a few years ago,” laughed Okmulgee High School cheer sponsor Juanita Morgan. But even though she may not be up on all of the latest cheer moves, Morgan serves the important role of being mother hen to a group of pretty young cheerleaders. “I love these girls and they needed someone to help them in ways other than cheer technique,” said Morgan who has been the cheer sponsor for the last four years or so. “I threaten to quit every year but now my niece is a cheer leader and she made me promise not to quit until after she graduates,” chuckled Morgan.
That niece is sophomore Koriahna Parks who has been cheering since she was in pre-school and as a newcomer to varsity cheer notes a difference from her previous years. “In high school you have to be a lot more self -confident in your abilities than you might have been in middle school.”
Another Okmulgee cheerleader is sophomore Victoria Griffin who is glad to see things returning more to normal this year after Covid-plagued 2020. “I really like to pep up the crowd and show spirit so it’s nice to have crowds in the stands again to cheer up after all of the restrictions last year. Another nice thing is that we get to travel to some of the away games this year.”
According to Morgan, the Okmulgee cheer team is known for being loud and proud. “We had an administrator from Tahlequah Sequoyah come up the other night at our game and remark how loud we were even though we only about eight girls there.”
The squad is made up of 14 girls this year including three seniors, one of which is Abigail Harris, a team co-captain. She had a sister who cheered but never thought she would get into it until her sister talked her into trying out in middle school and she’s been cheering every year since except her freshman year. She notes that things have changed for the good on the squad the last couple of years. “My first couple of years were a little rocky and we only had 5-8 girls at each game. But now the squad has grown a little more,” said Harris who is also on the Okmulgee track team. “I love to cheer because I can be loud and not get in trouble, “Abby laughed.
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