Creating a sense of community through cheer
The Student Activities Department has been bringing vertical teams together by providing Dallas ISD cheer teams with buses so that they can participate in Feeder Pattern Nights, first during football season and now for basketball games. So far this semester, more than 50 elementary and 13 middle school cheer teams and nearly all high school cheer squads have participated in the districtwide initiative.
The Feeder Pattern Night initiative gives elementary and middle school cheer squads a chance to cheer alongside their feeder pattern high school cheer teams right at the center of an action-packed football and basketball games, which creates a sense of community for Dallas ISD students and their families.
This sense of community is deeply impactful to the student body, said Sydney Lee, cheer coach for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Arts Academy.
“Starting with camp and now Feeder Pattern Night, this is the most fun my cheerleaders have had in the past six years,” Lee said. “The cheerleaders are learning a lot and having experiences that will last a lifetime. As for myself, I have gained a lot from this experience so far. I have built relationships with different individuals that will help not only my cheerleaders but my entire campus as well.”
Lee’s cheerleaders, along with those from Dade Middle School, Solar Prep for Girls, and Dunbar Elementary School participated in the Madison High School Feeder Pattern Night.
Sharla Hudspeth, executive director for Extracurricular and Extended Learning Opportunities said that sporting events have been an avenue for the community to show support for Dallas ISD school children, and Feeder Pattern Nights adds to that tradition.
“Feeder Pattern Nights are wonderful opportunities to bring our community of schools together which creates a fun and exciting experience not only for the cheerleaders and athletes but for their families and friends too,” she said.
Moisés E. Molina High School’s cheer coach, Damien Robichaux, is happy to have elementary and middle school cheerleaders on the sidelines with his team. He said “exposure and authentic experiences” are important to build a solid foundation for high school cheer programs.
“Participation in Feeder Pattern Night is not only positive for young cheerleaders, but it also increases the crowd capacity and adds to the level of excitement in the stadium,” Robichaux said. “It gives those who would never go to a football game a chance to see their daughter or son in a new light, and it helps bring that positive community feeling back to the stands.”
The same is true for cheerleaders who participated in Feeder Pattern Night. The Martin Luther King Jr Academy cheerleaders were extremely grateful for the opportunity.
“This was my first time being inside a stadium, and I cannot believe I was able to cheer in front of so many people!” said Heaven Minnieweather, a sixth grader at MLK.
The experience even motivated cheerleader Robyn Guster to think about her performance in her classes.
“I am going to work really hard in class to keep my grades up so I can cheer next time too,”said the MLK sixth grader.