GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – Before you get to college or even high school – high school is a time in your life that shapes the people you are.
Allen Middle School in Greensboro takes this responsibility very seriously and goes the extra mile to make sure its students are ready for the real world.
“The theme for Allen Middle School this year is hope that has only positive expectations,” explained AMS athletic director Jana Bethea. “So our main focus and our goal is to expose all of our students to what’s outside of high school and high school so they can be ready and prepared or even excited for college.”
That hope rings louder than the cheers of the twelve young women standing outside Allen Middle School.
“College and career preparation is first and foremost for Allen Middle School, as well as the cheerleading team,” said cheerleading coach Iris Miller. “It goes beyond the classroom and cheerleading. The community helps us, too.”
Allen Middle’s cheer team emphasizes experiences that will give their athletes all the tools they need to prepare for their next step.
“We go on field trips to different college campuses, we visit college campuses, they’re exposed to the college curriculum, in a sense, as far as the vernacular and the rigor of the classes as well,” Miller said.
“Your school is your second family you spend so much time with us,” Bethea added. “So, yes, I just want to give back to them. And just let them know that we have your back and there’s something else for you. Even if you don’t see it – we do.”
A second family they know this time in the life of these cheerleaders is where the future begins.
“This is a very pivotal and important time in his life,” Miller explained. “So, me and my assistant coach working, we tell them their caterpillars, and they go to the metamorphosis of a butterfly.”
“I think middle school is probably one of the hardest levels because we catch them at the moment where they’re trying to find,” Bethea said. “They are still learning, but we are able to train them and help and assist them and when necessary.”
That’s why the team will take a trip to Duke earlier this year – where they had the opportunity to see the campus and have fun on the sidelines with the Blue Devils.
“It was like a whole castle and I was like wow, Duke is really big,” cheerleader Talayah Doomes recalled. “And I just loved how, you know, it looked like a little castle and it was like a big campus.”
“It’s very important because it lets me know what I want to do and it helps me figure out what I want to do faster in a better way,” added team member Kimmonie McKellar.
Cheer is an important part of their lives — but the team knows the lessons go beyond sports.
“Their toughness is preparing us because in high school it’s going to get tougher, it’s only going to get tougher, it’s not going to get any easier,” McKellar said. “It’s only going to get harder as we grow up and as we go into the real world.”
The main lesson – knowing that they can rely on their teammates and coaches to get them through anything.
“One thing about us is we’re going to show you what you can achieve because we never said you couldn’t just because you’re here, but the world is bigger than Greensboro, it’s bigger than North Carolina,” Bethea concluded.