“Balancing cheer and school is definitely hard,” Feldman said. “This is probably the most stressed out I’ve been all year, and for me it’s like having a job that doesn’t stop because cheerleading is year-round.”
Feldman also has to balance school cheerleading with All-Star cheerleading, which is a separate organization. All-Star is a highly competitive cheerleading federation with teams of 36 athletes who compete in six to eight regional and national competitions throughout the season.
“All-Star practices are much longer, and they vary in time,” Feldman said. “Some may be three hours, or when we have choreography camp, you stay the whole day from 10 (a.m.) to 5 (p.m.).”
Although Feldman loves All-Star cheer, she thinks there is a completely different dynamic when cheering for Grady.
“All-Star is different because we go in, we condition, work out hard, and go through your routine for that performance or exhibition and drain ourselves,” Feldman said. “School is really chill, laid back, you come in and you warm up, everyone talks about what they are gonna do for that day, and then you do it and go home.”
Grady cheer leads to different relationships and experiences because their teammates are peers at school.
“School cheer is different from competition cheer because it can be almost political about who gets their way,” Feldman said. “It is a great experience, and you get to bond with your friends and teammates.”
Feldman also thinks Grady is a great environment for the cheerleading team to succeed. Grady allows for a very diverse group of students who are open to many different activities and interests.
“Our team [Grady] gets along very well, and we bond a lot,” Feldman said. “We all have different personalities, but we all get along and have a great time whether we’re at games, practices or whatever we’re doing.”
The cheerleaders are also major supporters of the Grady Grey Knights football team and try to cheer the team to success.
“Before games, we like to hype the football players up and get them ready for the game,’’ Feldman said. “On one occasion, we decorated their locker room to make them feel special, and we started doing the banners because we know they really like them. We also make sure we get the fans out because they (football players) love the school spirit and the support and having someone to cheer them on.’’
Sophomore Jacob Greenhill agrees that the cheerleaders play an integral role in creating the ideal student section and fan base at games.
“I think the cheerleaders get the crowd pumped up, especially in situations where the crowd’s energy is low,” Greenhill said. “They are also really good at pumping up the football team, which in turn gives the crowd more energy.”
Sophomore cheerleader Abby Challas believes Feldman is important to the team’s success.
“I think Jasmine is a really good captain, and she is one of the most enthusiastic and dedicated people on the team,” Challas said. “She’s really hardworking and helps everything run well.”
Feldman also believes her experiences as captain have benefitted her outside of cheerleading.
“I’ve been able to work with people better and be more optimistic and willing to listen to others,” Feldman said.
Written by Lily Soto from The Southerner