Every year, PCT gives away scholarships to graduating seniors heading off to University. This season, through the generous donations of our gym family we were able to give $5,000! That means that over the past 6 years, we’ve given $26,000 back to our athletes.
This season we had 10 applicants, and 5 were selected based on grades, an essay, and their contribution to the community at large.
Our winners were: Meagan Clarke, Nicole Bucsynski, Sloan Moss, Caitlyn Drexler and our $2000.00 Scholarship Winner: Carly Thrower. Below is the winning essay. Congratulations ladies!
I was never the 8-year-old girl with a standing full and hyperextended jumps. I wasn’t even the 14-year-old with a cartwheel. I still remember my very first tryout (which happened to be my very first time cheerleading) when Coach Scott asked me to show him my tumbling. I was so embarrassed when I attempted a cartwheel and fell! As discouraging as it was to be a beginner, I was immediately inspired by the PCT Cobras family. Seeing how hardworking and dedicated everyone was around me was so motivating. I could quickly tell the difference between the cheerleaders that worked hard and the ones that didn’t. I quickly realized that I would get what I worked for.
Just like many teenage girls, I have struggled to find people I fit in with, people with whom I can truly be myself. Joining cheerleading helped me to find not only one person I fit in with, but an entire team of them! The bonds that I have formed in these four years are priceless. The amazing Cobras family that has surrounded me and supported me has truly changed my life. Not only that but I have learned of my importance to the team. Everyone has a roll; the loud leaders, the silent leaders, the super-fit girl, the mood-lightening girl, the sassy dancer and the crazy tumbler. We all have something to bring to the team. I know what strengths I bring to the team, and now I know to appreciate and look for the strengths that others may bring.
People are surprised when I say I am a cheerleader. I am not the super preppy, loud blonde that only cheers for the short skirt. Cheer has taught me to be so much more than that. I have learned to push through when things get hard. I have learned to fight for what I want. I have learned how to have a positive mindset even when everything goes wrong. I have learned how good it feels to be cheered for, and how important it is to cheer on others. Just a quick “you can do this” can make all the difference. I have become an expert in time management. That is why I am able to work 20 hours a week, volunteer 5 hours a week, cheer 5 hours a week, maintain a social life and still have a 90% average. I have learned you perform how you practice. I learned to cheer on teams from other gyms out of respect, even though I was secretly hoping all their stunts would fall.
My priority when I joined cheerleading was to join a higher level. Then during my first season I realized that level doesn’t matter. The staff and athletes at PCT don’t respect you because you’re on level five. You get respect and appreciation based on your own hard work. When I got my back handspring, it wasn’t disregarded because it’s “only a back handspring”. It was celebrated! Nearly every coach congratulated me, even coaches I had never talked to before. When I got the Most Improved Award my first year of cheerleading, I knew it didn’t matter what level I was on. The most important thing was that I was working my hardest and achieving my personal best.
I was also obsessed with coming in first place. Then I actually won a competition with a run that I wasn’t even particularly proud of. I learned that “winning” doesn’t feel nearly as satisfying as knowing you performed to the best of your ability. I learned that I would much rather have a perfect run, zero deduction run and come in last, than an okay run and come in first.
Looking back, remembering my four years at PCT, reminds me just how far I’ve come. Its incredible how much I have learned because of my amazing cheerleading experience. I am leaving an entirely different girl than I was. I now have a new family that surprises me everyday with their continuous love and support. Because of this family I have a confidence in myself that allows me to
take new chances and opportunities. I know that I will carry the lessons I have learned as a cheerleader with me every single day, long after I have stopped cheerleading.