With the end of the school year approaching, chaos is everywhere. Worries about grades, graduation, the perfect prom dress, college and summer plans have left most students and teachers unaware of a recurring issue: Charter Oak’s pep squad coaches have quit again, and the hunt for a new coach is on.
In the last four years the pep squad has had three pairs of coaches be fired or quit. The reason why is unknown to many, and others did not even know the spirit teams have lost their coaches. Varsity cheerleader Madeline Bustillos has said that the issue has left senior cheerleaders wishing for a better year and left athletic teams spiritless. Unlike previous years there were two main factors that have caused this year’s coaches to pack up and leave without so much as a goodbye: the parents and the team itself.
Most of the girls are not afraid to admit that the team has is a problem and that parents are holding them back. Varsity cheerleader Kai McMillan even admitted that the team has no discipline, and some of the girls hate being told what to do. “When they get disciplined, they get mad and tell their parents, which causes the parents to start complaining,” McMillan said. A person with knowledge about cheer has said that the girls and their parents are too used to youth cheer and need to realize this is high school: things change.
According to some though, these are not the issues. The issues are that there are no leadership skills being shown and that the girls are being ignored. When four of the cheerleaders were asked, they said that they are angry because they feel ignored by the school. They have been asked to come up with solutions, but to them, it is useless. When they respond, the individuals they report to do not seem to care. It seems biased, but yet their suggestions seem largely ignored.
The school seems to pick up the pieces of this mess fast and recently a new coach was hired. McMillan said, “She’s fierce. It’s her way, or no way. She was a Clippers cheerleader. She is disciplining them, and she has experience. I hope it works.” Currently the district is trying to fill in the position for a second coach. Along with the new coach, the team also had tryouts, and the results were stunning to some. Gone were the cheerleaders who have been on the team this year, and in come new girls who have the skill level it takes to be on the team.
Heather Lehigh, a former cheer advisor at Charter Oak, commented, “Change is good. There is a new coach, new principal and new teammates. When it comes to cheer, there is no tradition. You work to be there, and you change.” When asked about the situation, the only comment said was, “No one person can do it; it is impossible with junior varsity and varsity. An advisor and two coaches can do the job. It is important that they also care about the sport.”
Out with the old and in with the new has never been more accurate. Now everyone can hope that next year will be better and that the team becomes stronger than it has been these last few years. All they need to remember is change is good.
Photo by Alex Figueroa