Channelling their Cheeringing

Photos by Jackie BODNAR and Sara RUSH
CVHS cheer and pep squad members cheer on Moyse Field with the participants of the junior cheer camp.

By Lori BODNAR, intern

Many young children want to be cheerleaders when they promote into middle school or high school. On Friday, over 80 excited young girls were able to realize their dream early of being a cheerleader when they took to the field at Moyse Field for the the Crescenta Valley High School football game. The occasion was provided by the CVHS pep squad, which held a junior cheer camp “spirit clinic” for young girls (ages 5-12) to learn the school cheers and then rallied the crowd at the CVHS football game. The girls learned the moves and cheers at the CVHS gym at the cheer camp on Sept. 15 then performed during the first half of the CVHS football game vs. Pasadena High School on Sept. 21.

Some of the junior cheer camp members share a laugh between performances.

The CVHS cheerleaders taught from 9 a.m. to noon. The young girls were divided into groups by age, then rotated through various stations to learn the different cheers and moves and given personal instruction from the CVHS pep squad. John Pehar, a CVHS teacher and coach of the CVHS pep squad, organized the junior cheer camp.

“As much as the junior cheer clinic is a fundraiser, it’s more about the community and bringing the community together for something really positive,” said Pehar. “A parent of a participant told me she attended [former coach] John Goffredo’s [cheer] camp when she was a little girl and so much wanted to be a cheerleader. She became a CV cheerleader, graduating in 2006. Today she wishes the same for her little girl. I tell our cheerleaders all the time they are role models to these little girls. It’s not easy for teenagers to see themselves as being role models until you tell them stories like this.”

Amanda Rush Bova, a sophomore cheerleader, added, “I just love helping out little kids.”

The entire squad on the field.

The cheer camp participants also received a pep squad T-shirt, a pom pom, and a cheer bow. Two sisters, fourth grader Kai-Lan Holguin and kindergartener Khalessi Holguin, both attended the junior cheer camp.

“I like that I can learn new things and that there are a lot of teenagers to help me cheer,” Kai-Lan said. “A lot of my friends are also in the cheer camp and it is fun to spend time with them.”

Seven-year old Suzanna Bodnar was also excited to cheer on the football field; this is her third year attending the cheer camp and she brought friend Laura Lund along to enjoy the fun. The duo were front and center, showing their pep by jumping, twirling, waving their pom-poms, and shouting out the cheers to rally the crowd. The young cheerleaders brought the crowd to their feet when they performed the cheer, “Stand Up and Clap Your Hands!”

The high school pep squad cheerleaders were interspersed among the group of younger cheerleaders to help them in case they forgot any moves. During half-time, after a photo op of the group of young cheerleaders side-by-side with the CVHS pep squad, the young cheerleaders were reunited with their families. Some went home then, but others grabbed a hot dog and drink from the snack shack and cheered the rest of the game on from the stands. The CVHS pep squad led the cheers for the second half of the game, pumping up the crowd to cheer on the team to victory, 47-28.

In addition to the football team and cheer squad, the school’s marching band, drumline and colorguard were on field as well, performing a dynamic halftime show. The CVHS marching band is the largest marching band in the Glendale Unified School District. The members spend countless hours practicing and performing. Because CVHS doesn’t have bleachers or lights, all home games are played at Moyse Stadium at Glendale High School and the football team, pep squad, marching band, and color guard have to travel with all of their gear to the home games by bus. As reported in the Sept. 20 issue of Crescenta Valley Weekly, GUSD plans for CVHS to have bleachers and lights installed, following a CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) study and public input meetings.

Despite having to travel to Glendale, all of the young cheerleaders enjoyed learning cheers from the pep squad at the spirit clinic, and the highlight of cheering on the field at the home game. Many are looking forward to the experience again next year, and also joining the pep squad themselves when they reach middle school and high school.

“[Junior cheer camp] is a wonderful program,” said Sarah Rush, mom of squad member Amanda. “There is a great deal of friendship, athleticism and discipline.”