On May 22, the varsity cheerleading team from Holy Family Grade School in Glendale competed in the SHARP International World Finals in Honolulu, Hawaii. The co-ed team consisted of 12 students in grades six through eight that entered two categories: cheer and pom. Competing against schools from Hawaii, the mainland and other states, Holy Family Grade School brought home the championship trophy by placing first in cheer, second in pom, first and second in team stunts, and first, second, and third in toe touch.
Teresa Nelson, cheer coach, and her daughter Taryn, assistant coach, have been working with the team since October and this year won two other competitions before the world finals.
“I started the cheer program in 2000 with 18 girls. Today, there are four teams consisting of 55 cheerleaders. Most of my varsity team members have been in the program since first grade,” stated Nelson. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would go this far. It is only through the support and dedication of the pastor, administration, parents, school, and team members that this could be accomplished.”
Leading the cheer program at Holy Family was like coming home for Nelson.
“I was a cheerleader here at Holy Family Grade School in the 1970s (1972 and 1973). My daughter Taryn was never a cheerleader, but always supported cheer at Holy Family as my assistant coach (volunteer for four years), and then was hired as my assistant for the past two years,” said Nelson. “Together we, along with the varsity cheerleaders, choreograph the cheer and pom dances for all team competitions. We begin our season in early November and cheer at all home games for basketball, while learning our competition routines on non-home game days.”
Nelson said that students are placed in upper levels of cheer according to ability.
The SHARP International World Finals in Hawaii is the culmination of months of hard work. Holy Family cheer teams also garnered first place wins to earn the title of SHARP Grand Champions in January. This competition was held at Santa Fe High School. The teams also competed at the CYO, Catholic Youth Organization, in March where the school’s ‘B’ team cheer won first place.
Nelson has a steadfast faith that dedication can achieve huge results.
“I have always believed that if one works hard, anything is possible,” she said. “The students at Holy Family Grade School are diligent in their studies, which is exhibited in our decathlon wins, Concert Chorus and in sports, which is shown in all our teams – especially cheer. Our varsity squad is devoted to this sport, giving up their Saturdays, keeping up their grades, and working with the younger students to help develop the teams and support spirit throughout the school.
“I am so impressed with the performance our varsity team gave in the world finals through SHARP International. I am so proud to be a part of Holy Family Grade School in Glendale. This level of excellence shows that a small school with big efforts can have huge results.”