Student News The Student Way

Cliques & Cliches: Pom Poms VS Pariahs

March 13, 2018

Welcome back, Jackets. 

The winter holidays have passed and the hive is buzzing yet again, awaking from its short-lived hibernation of the cliques and clichés. Try and deny it, but as ordinary high school students we are aware of the long-lived caste system in our educational institutions.

From football stars to the book worms who dream of being one, every student plays role; a fact made abundantly clear by the majority of our modern day high school entertainment. Among these roles are the blonde, jock, chess geek, and- you guessed it- the confidently painted high school beauty queens, the ones responsible for setting the impossible standards for the female student body, the pom pom shaking superiors: the cheerleaders. 

Classic, right?

Maybe not.

Suppose there is more to being a cheerleader than waving pom poms and putting social pariahs in their places. Maybe we are so consumed in our own perspectives, that we overlook our fellow classmates and accept the concept that society has fed to us: cheerleaders are power-hungry snobs with fresh manicures and expensive lipstick.  

Makay Markwalter, a junior on North Augusta High School’s Varsity Cheer-Leading squad, has provided eminent information to put the cliché to rest once and for all.  

“I don’t consider cheerleader stereotypes to be accurate,” stated Markwalter. “People believe we are preppy and stuck up, but in reality, we are a huge family and all of the cheerleaders…are loving and genuinely nice.” 

In some eyes, this may paint a warm picture of a two-dozen member family of high school girls huddled by the fireplace exchanging Christmas gifts. However, for others, this just isn’t enough. Many individuals would interpret this as a vindictive  act of exclusion, and an exclusive group of high school aged girls who find themselves physically superior to those outside their own clique. Markwalter has continuously expressed that she does not consider herself superior to her peers, other schools’ students, or the beauty scale because of cheerleading. She instead believes that being a cheerleader highlights many other attributes.

“You do have to be fit to do jumps…You have to learn material given to you, and execute it in a manner that is pleasing to the judges. It’s not about beauty, but more so about whether you are good at it…You have to be coordinated to dance to the correct counts.” Markwalter continued, “I do not there is competition with other squads, because we all converse and introduce ourselves previous to games…No North Augusta cheerleaders think that they are superior to other students…” 

Markwalter also confirmed that most students believe cheerleaders receive special treatment from the school’s faculty and staff, which is hardly true. Markwalter is a firm believer that all students, clubs, and sports act as one school to support North Augusta High School as a whole, and that no clubs’ members receive special treatment or privileges.  

“Cheerleaders experience the same everyday struggles, because, despite being united, you have the same school and the same people in it. There are no ‘perks,’ because you end up being thought of being stuck up or rude, and are judged harsher than other students. In fact, it can be embarrassing to be in front of the entire student body and mess up a dance or doing the wrong move,” Makay explained. 

From the outside looking in, cheer-leading may seem like a life consuming activity and that it takes away from other experiences, but many cheerleaders have demonstrated quite the opposite. Makay is a member of, not only cheer-leading, but several other clubs and organizations such as Junior Advisory, Future Business Leaders of America, and North Augusta High School Beta Club.

Despite her social thriving, when asked how she felt about having to cheer during the football games and pep rallies instead of socializing in the student section, she collaborates, “I don’t even want to be a part of the student section or crowd, because cheering is what I love, and I wouldn’t miss being out there for the world.”

Markwalter has earned reputation determination, intelligence, and pride among her fellow classmates, and has a bright future ahead of herself. She plans to apply and attend the University of South Carolina, and to attain a medical degree to pursue a profession in anesthesiology.

So, at the end of the day, we can all take a page out of someone else’s book, and realize that the perspectives fed to us are not always the most accurate ones.

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