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North Fort Myers High hosts 300 girls from more than a dozen cheer squads

July 24, 2019
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

Cheerleaders are much more than just a group of girls who cheer on their football team on Friday night. They are ambassadors, representing their school through the spirit they show, no matter what the score.

Last week, at North Fort Myers High School, nearly 300 girls from more than a dozen schools came to the gymnasium for a week of instruction on all the elements of being a cheerleader at the Universal Cheerleading Association camp.

The girls learned basic cheers, proper form in their moves and even did some stunts and tumbling, all with smiles on their faces and the spirit one might find on Friday night.

Article Photos

The North Fort Myers High School cheer squad gets together for a photo at the Universal Cheerlead-ing Association cheer camp at North Fort Myers High School last Wednesday.


Katie Hohmann, head instructor for the Lee County camp, said the idea was to teach the squads new sideline cheers and dances, as well as sharpening their technique.

"We're not only teaching them to be good cheerleaders, but good people, being a leader and an ambassador," Hohmann said. "We go all over the country all summer to do camps like this."

North, as the host, had more than 50 cheerleaders at the camp, the most the school has ever had. Also present were teams from Oasis, Golden Gate, Estero, Cypress Lake and many more.

Nicole Johonnett, in her third season as varsity coach at North, said the camp helped get everyone ready for the school year, which starts in a month.

"We do these camps every year and the UCA reached out to us and wanted to see if we wanted to do the commuter camp and bring schools to us," Johonnett said. "The staffers have everything running well, are really organized and the girls are enjoying themselves."

Bailey Reed, junior varsity coach, said this camp serves as a great jumping point for her girls, many of them entering the program following years at Pop Warner. It's more than just somersaults and forming a pyramid.

"In Pop Warner you only cheer for the football team. At high school, you're more of an ambassador of the school and do more events," Reed said. "They even have classes that teach them they are ambassadors and how to handle themselves in public, how to talk to people and say the correct things."

The cheerleaders were having fun. Chloe Marbry, a senior at North, said they were learning dances and how to do the fundamental moves properly. Most important, she has learned how to "represent."

"We represent the school by making sure we live by the policies of the school and make sure the school can rely on you as a role model," Marbry said.

"This helps us bond as a team and brings us together to learn new routines we can do at pep rallies or games," said senior Alana Engh. "We know a lot of the other girls from social media and games, so we get along really well with them and have a good time."



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