More than 250 students from Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 enjoyed PE lessons to remember last week when the Brighton Panthers cheerleading squad spent the day demonstrating and instructing in this exciting new sport.
The 14 sportswomen who visited from the Brighton Panthers are all first or second year students at Brighton University studying for degrees in PE, Sport & Exercise and Events; they became national champions recently in the BCA National Championships in Telford; they explained a little about the sport and what they enjoy about it.
“I’ve always been a gymnast,” explained team captain Charlotte, “But that tends to be an individual sport. Cheerleading has all the elements of gymnastics and dance, but in a team setting. Cheerleading is a misunderstood sport; we don’t wave pom-poms and cheer for a team – we cheer for ourselves!”
“The sport makes you strong in ways that you maybe haven’t been before. You have to be physically and mentally strong.” said Charlotte. “We aren’t perfect and we do fall, but when that happens, you have to literally pick yourself up and try again. If you’re maybe feeling down one day, then the other members of the team will pull you up. We’re a very strong team, in all senses of the word; we rely on each other.”
The squad have raised around £1,000 for the Rockinghorse charity this year and have noticed an increase in the number of boys attending their fundraising events and showing an interest in the sport.
“It’s a great sport for raising self-esteem, for both girls and boys. It’s been lovely seeing so many boys having a go today, joining all the girls. We’ve had a great time at Longhill and thoroughly enjoyed working with your students.”
The visit was organised by PE teacher Carla Clark as part of a Youth Sports Trust initiative called ‘Girls Active’, which aims to increase girls’ participation in all sports on a national scale. “Sport is so good for young people and we’d love to get girls to participate more; it’s particularly beneficial for them, giving them body-confidence and a boost to their self-esteem.” said Miss Clark “Cheerleading really is a great sport – it requires strength, teamwork, discipline, communication, focus and determination; I really hope to offer more opportunities like this at Longhill.”
Without doubt all the students who took part enjoyed trying something exciting and different and we’d like to thank the Brighton Panther’s for making it such a great day!
All pictures by kind permission of Argus, Brighton.