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Ready? Okay! // Brandon seeks alumni cheerleaders

They say you never forget the moves.

That's what Brandon High cheerleading coaches are counting on when they invite alumni to perform at the homecoming game this week.

Lori Norton, Brandon's assistant cheerleading coach, is looking for former cheerleaders to participate in homecoming activities during halftime at the game Friday against Jefferson High.

"I want there to be more community spirit here, and we thought this would help," said Norton, 22, who cheered at Brandon High from 1988 until she graduated in '91. "I heard the whole town used to get into homecoming games and decorate the streets and everyone would come out. I'm trying to get things back like they used to be when Brandon High was the only high school around here."

Norton and head coach Mimi Johnson hope that at least 20 former cheerleaders will come back this year to wear the maroon and white. Norton heard about the exercise at a cheerleading camp and has spent recent weeks going through old Brandon High yearbooks and calling alumni. Many were hard to locate, but some recent graduates were found at local universities, and some never strayed far from the Brandon area.

Erika Shaw cheered for three years at Brandon High until she graduated last spring. Now a freshman at the University of Florida, she remembers looking through old photos of Brandon cheerleaders and hopes to meet some of the women who cheered 50 years ago.

"That would be so cool," said Shaw, 18, who was a Brandon cheerleading captain. "I loved looking at those old pictures of cheerleaders in long skirts with socks up to their knees. I'm kind of nervous about getting in front of an audience again, but I learn cheers pretty fast."

Brandon High School, at 1101 Victoria St., was founded in 1914, however, Norton and Johnson haven't yet found any graduates from those early years to participate. Norton hopes some will return next year after hearing about the performance Friday night.

Lisa Norton, 19, cheered at Brandon from 1990-93. She is a junior at the University of Florida and said she might not come back for homecoming if she weren't invited to cheer.

"I never thought I would be doing this, I haven't cheered since high school," she said, a health science education major. "I'm looking forward to being a part of the team again _ that's what I miss most about cheering."

Lori Norton is asking former Brandon cheerleaders who want to participate at homecoming to call her at 689-9485.

"Homecoming is all about alumni coming back," she said. "I hope people will see what we're trying to do and, in a few years, we'll have that community spirit again."

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