Give me a P!

Potential of cheer program for SMHS to be discussed at April school board meeting

The April meeting of the Carbon County School District No. 2 (CCSD2) Board of Trustees may get a dose of cheer.

During the March 21 meeting of the Board of Trustees, CCSD2 Superintendent Jim Copeland and Saratoga Middle/High School (SMHS) Principal J.D. Johnson informed the board two parents had expressed interest in starting a cheer group for the high school. According to Copeland, the parents said they were considering self-funding the program.

This would not be without precedent, as the six-man football program for Encampment High School—which was initially approved in 2018—has been self-funded through private donations. Indeed, when Boardmember Karen Condict asked about the fundraising for the program, Johnson said he believed they were looking at a model similar to Encampment’s.

There would be one significant difference, however. When Encampment’s six-man football program was approved more than three years ago, the Board of Trustees agreed to pay for travel and officials. Condict made this point, to which Johnson responded the cheer group would only perform at home games.

While the names of the two individuals who approached Johnson were revealed during the meeting, the SMHS principal did bring up their backgrounds in the activity.

“Both of them have a big background in cheer and dance throughout their high school and they were looking at the size of our school and participation and they asked—wanted to know—if we had cheerleading,” said Johnson. “I think we would be the third that’s a 1A school to do that. So, it’s not a very common thing.”

There is not a comprehensive list of schools with a spirit program—which is the umbrella under which Game Day Cheer, All Girl Cheer, Jazz and Hip-Hop are listed—on the Wyoming High School Athletics Association (WHSAA) website. A look at prior State Spirit results, however, show 1A schools such as Cokeville participate in the 2A level. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, other 1A schools such as Hanna, Elk Mountain, Medicine Bow (HEM) and Farson-Eden had programs as well.

“We would have to make it an activity because it is under the WHSAA guidelines,” Johnson said. “So it would have to become one of our activities for the school.”

In addition to funding, Condict also had questions as to where the cheer group would practice. According to Johnson, the group would practice before school so as not to interfere with other after-school athletics and activities.

An initial proposal is expected to be presented to the Board of Trustees at their next meeting.

The next meeting of the Carbon County School District No. 2 Board of Trustees will be at 4 p.m. on April 18 at Hanna, Elk Mountain, Medicine Bow Junior/Senior High School in Hanna.


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