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South Paulding cheerleaders win multiple awards
by Ericka Birdsong
ebirdsong@neighbornewspapers.com
August 07, 2013 10:10 AM | 1794 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Fellow cheerleaders help senior and captain       Maddie Cantrell practice some lifts last week on the first day of practice at South Paulding High School.
Fellow cheerleaders help senior and captain Maddie Cantrell practice some lifts last week on the first day of practice at South Paulding High School.
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The South Paulding co-ed cheer squad recently went to a Universal Cheerleading Association camp at Jekyll Island and returned with four different awards for their efforts and routines.

Led by head varsity coach Dee Jackson, the team competed against six other high school teams and won the leadership, extreme routine, home pom and “coveted banana” awards.

The leadership award is given to the high school team which displays the most leadership while at the camp as voted by all the teams.

The extreme routine award winner is based on how well the team performs a routine – four eight-counts of choreography taught by a Cheerleading Association teacher and four eight-counts of the team’s own choreography. South Paulding did a pyramid formation to win it.

Home pom winners are decided based on each team’s individual routine they execute during the camp to a music mix of their choice.

The “banana” is an actual banana balloon, signed by all the camp participants and given to the team which shows the most school spirit. South’s JV and varsity squads won.

Jackson has been a cheerleading coach for a total of 17 years. Starting her coaching career in Alabama for high school and junior leagues, Jackson moved to Georgia and started the program at South when the school opened in 2006.

After taking a few years off with the thought that she was retiring from cheerleading, Jackson said she was asked to come back and help.

“The cheerleaders made it worth it,” she said.

There are currently 21 members of the varsity football cheerleading team, including five seniors and nine juniors. The team also has one boy, junior Dawson Sturino who Jackson said is a “good kid, but he still needs to learn the dynamics of cheerleading.”

This year’s captains are seniors Taylor Britt, Maddie Cantrell and Madison Fuller.

Now that school has begun they also have begun practicing and preparing for the upcoming jamboree scrimmage against Hillgrove on Aug. 16 at South Paulding.

“They work hard. Cheerleaders are athletes. This is a sport, not an activity,” she said.

“We have a great routine that we’re putting together. We’ve been to state [competition] every year since we’ve been competing [in 2009] and we’re state bound this year as well as far as I’m concerned,” said Jackson.
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