Moline High School Varsity cheerleaders were invited to the Cheer Hawaii USA Invitational, taking place over the summer. Six varsity cheerleaders, including four juniors and two seniors, will partake in the invitational.
“I’ve been coaching for 25 years and this is the first time that I’ve had girls go to this camp,” said Megan Ramirez, Moline High School Head Cheer Coach. “They work hard, they’re talented.” Practicing stunts at the Coolidge facility, Coach Ramirez is happy that her cheerleaders are being recognized. “Just knowing that they have earned it makes me feel really good as a coach that they trust me,” Ramirez said. “They take my coaching seriously, and it kind of makes me feel validated, knowing that all six of these girls were chosen and are going to have this opportunity to attend such a prestigious camp.” For the varsity cheerleaders, it was hard work getting to this point. “It means a lot,” said Jolina Gonzalez, a Moline High School Junior. “Every week I’m here, after school I come here. We have two games a week, so it’s a lot of work but I think it just is good that I got recognized.” To even be considered for the trip, the “student” in student-athlete needs to come first.
“It means a lot because to go to Hawaii you have to have a good GPA,” said Irelyn Ponder, a junior. “You have to be involved in the community, and be an all around good cheerleader, which is a lot for one person to do. A really big part is being able to be a student athlete because obviously school comes first, but you also have to put everything else you have into your sport.” The trip to Hawaii isn’t free. The cheer team will have to fundraise for the trip. “Our community gives us a lot of support,” said Emily Finley, a senior. “We’re very excited to see our community will help us with this fundraiser. Going with my school is awesome, and I can’t wait to meet other people that have the same passion that I do in Hawaii also.”
The Hawaii cheer camp will allow cheerleaders to meet people from all over the country and learn new skills in their sport. Coach Ramirez believes this is the opportunity of a lifetime. “It’s exciting for the girls who want to continue cheer after college,” Ramirez said. “Just to learn some new skills, and possibly see some coaches that they may not see in the Quad Cities, in Illinois.” The varsity cheerleaders will travel in June and will stay at the University of Hawaii for a week.