Without competition, Olympus squad focuses on cheer
Cheerleaders are usually seen at competitive sporting events, supporting their school. In the offseason, cheerleading squads compete against each other to see who has the best routines.
The cheerleading team at Olympus High takes a different approach, one that seeks to tame competition and teach girls other values.
"At Olympus, we don't go to cheerleading competitions," said Jennifer Goodman, the school's cheerleading coach. "Our focus is more on leadership and supporting the school. When you break down the word cheerleader you can take 'cheer,' which is encouraging the school, and 'leader' which is really what I want my team to be. I feel competition takes away from those two things."
The cheerleaders at Olympus are expected to carry a higher GPA than is required for athletes and participate in community events. The team can be seen cheering Salt Lake Marathon runners in front of the school and recently helped raise money for a local family at William Penn Elementary School.
"It was a great experience to help out at the elementary school," said Sarah Cameron, a captain on this year's squad. "We were able to encourage people there it was a fun thing to do."
Goodman, who has been involved with cheerleading at the school for the past 10 years, said competition hasn't been a part of Olympus cheerleading for some time. Last year the team talked her into going to one competition and they left knowing they weren't interested in going back.
"Not competing makes cheer a lot more fun," said senior cheerleader Amy Cox. "Without competition, we are able to focus on our education and I think it brings us all closer together when we aren't worried about that."
The squad can obviously be seen at football and basketball games, but Goodman said the teams also encourage some of the less-supported Titan teams.
"The cheerleaders go to swim meets, cross-country races and junior varsity games," said Goodman. "They also make team treats for teams they can't really watch, like the debate team."
Cox said the team is aware of the stereotypes that are associated with cheerleaders and they try their best to do stay far away from that behavior.
"We try to be friendly to everyone we see and set a good example," said Cox. "I think it has made a difference we seem to have a pretty good school family at Olympus."
Olympus cheer at a glance
The cheerleading squad at Olympus High School doesn't go to cheerleading competitions, instead it focuses on leadership and supporting the school.
Olympus cheerleaders are required to hold the same GPA as student body officers.
The team recently helped raise money for a local family at William Penn Elementary School.