Sweetwater Middle School sent two cheer squads to Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) cheer camp in July 2013. Along with their traditional eight member eighth grade squad, SMS has formed a seven member cheerleading squad for seventh grade, for the first time in SMS history. This expansion means SMS will have two different squads at sporting events for their respective grades, and will combine efforts for all pep rallies this season.
The combined squads travelled with Sweetwater High School squads to San Angelo, where they participated in a four-day/overnight cheer camp, on the Angelo State University campus. ASU's third camp installment was host to over 480 cheerleading participants from school districts statewide. SMS combined squads received Superior blue ribbon ratings on all evaluated performances, including second place overall winners of the 'Extreme Routine' competition in the Large Junior High Division.
Individuals also had the opportunity to compete and be recognized in special events, including competing for All-American Cheerleader, a camp 'Jump-Off' and Cheer Achievement participant pinnings.
Along with the expansion of cheer and pep squad activity, this season will kickoff with new cheer coaches as well. Cassandra Mendez and Tanya Monday will both serve as SMS cheer coaches for cheer and pep squad. The two are Sweetwater Alumni, and cheered on their respective eighth grade SMS squads.
Mendez cheered all four years at Sweetwater High School and was the first Cheerleading High School All-American recipient, in SISD history. Mendez also cheered on the collegiate level co-ed squad with McMurry University.
Monday currently serves on the PBIS committee for SISD, and is also studying Early Childhood Education through Cisco Junior College. Mendez and Monday are both paraprofessionals at Sweetwater Middle School.
"Our girls had the opportunity to participate in a fast paced environment of fun and cheerleading, working on proper technique and basic skills they will need for their cheer season. They did an outstanding job, and we have really enjoyed working with this group of amazing young ladies. We are very excited to be a part of such significant changes for our middle school squads, and have been met with complete support from our administration. We are thankful to Terry Pittman, Kathy Smartt, Jeff Withrow and Danette Price for being so instrumental in making this happen for SMS, not to mention the invaluable mentoring we have received from high-school cheer coach, Kassidi Seaton, and our high school cheer squads, as well.
We've expanded enrollment for our pep squad, and boast a significant roster, from all three SMS grades. We have 41 members this year and we are looking forward to having them represent Sweetwater at all SMS home games and SMS pep rallies," said Mendez.