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Through Our Eyes

Reports from student journalists at Melrose Elementary, John Hopkins Middle and Lakewood High schools in St. Petersburg

Cheer co-captain is ‘great role model’

Senior Essence Dennis cheers with the other Lakewood cheerleaders during a game on Sept. 18.

Jayda Watts | SNN

Senior Essence Dennis cheers with the other Lakewood cheerleaders during a game on Sept. 18.



Senior Essence Dennis is one of the three flyers on the Lakewood High School cheerleading squad this year. Dennis also is the co-captain of the cheerleading squad which means that she assists the captain, junior Kierra Marshall.

"I make sure that they know what they are doing, that they know the cheers, and they are on their game," Dennis said.

Cheerleading coach Sheila Culbreth said that Dennis is "a great role model" as a cheerleader.

"She shows dedication, and commitment to helping the team grow," she said.

Dennis has been a part of the team since her freshman year, but Lakewood isn't the only team she cheers for.

"Well I cheer for two teams, so that helped me out. I cheered for all four years from nineth through 12th, so I have gotten more experienced over the years," Dennis said.

Because she is so experienced the other girls on the team look up to her, and voted her co-captain.

"She is just really great, and she helps you and she is understanding, patient and doesn't get upset when someone messes up. She is doing an amazing job as co-captain," cheerleader Alexis Crawford said.

"I think they look up to her and give her respect," Culbreth said.

Many noticed that the cheer squad did stunts during the football games, which came from plenty of practice and going to Rock Solid, a cheerleading gym. The team practiced every Tuesday from 2:30 to 4:30 and every Wednesday from 5:30 to 7:30 on school days, but practice for them didn't just start during the school year.

"The team has been practicing since the second week of summer for two hours three days a week," Dennis said.

Having more than 10 girls on the cheer squad coach Culbreth said she could use a little help from her captains now and then, and when help is needed Dennis is there.

"She is a great teacher, very passionate and patient when teaching others," Culbreth said.

Although being a cheerleader seems fun it also comes with fees. As a football cheerleader you are required to pay $278 for all of the cheer attire: pom-poms, bows, ribbons, bloomers, shoes, a bag, shirts, a uniform, etc. All of that is included in the football season cheer packet, but this year the cheer packet came along with new cheerleading uniforms.

"I like the new uniforms because they are actually black and gold, they show our school spirit," Dennis said.

[Last modified: Tuesday, February 23, 2016 3:00pm]


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