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WESTMINSTER : Cheerleaders Seek Florida Travel Funds

September 10, 1993|BERT ELJERA

For the eight members of the Westminster Christian School cheerleading team, participating in a national tournament is a chance of a lifetime. But it could prove an elusive goal unless the team raises enough money to travel across the country in four months.

The seventh- and eighth-graders want to take part in a cheerleading championship competition among Christian schools Jan. 6 to 8 in Orlando, Fla.

"This is our chance to show off what we've learned," said Joanne Parker, 13, the team captain.

The problem is how to get there. They need at least $8,750 for the trip, according to Elaine Wright, the team's adviser. But so far, after several bake sales, Saturday morning carwashes and garage sales, the team has raised only $1,400.

Westminster Christian School, a nondenominational school with about 200 students, does not pay for the team's travel expenses for out-of-town competitions, Wright said. The parents have to foot the bill, she said.

In addition to the national tournament, the team plans to participate in the state championship in Sacramento in November. There are four other competitions in which the team takes part each year, Wright said.

School cheerleading teams have performed mainly during varsity games and school rallies, but their schedule has expanded in recent years. Today, the Westminster team also competes regularly in local, state and national cheerleading tournaments.

Most of the eight members of the team said they hope to continue as cheerleaders in high school and college.

Team members said they enjoy the prestige that cheerleaders have on campus. "I always wanted to be one of them," said Kristy Janczak, 13, who has been with the team for two years. "They are leaders in school."

About 15 to 20 girls apply each year to become members of the team, said Wright, 41, who has supervised the team for the past six years.

The 12- or 13-year-old girls are chosen by a panel of judges based on their personality, grades and tryout routine. Those who make the team then go through a five-day cheerleading camp.

"It takes a lot of hard work," said Stephanie Mousetis, 12, who has been with the team for two years.

"But it teaches you to be responsible," said 12-year-old Kelly McGinnis, an eighth-grader who is in her third year, including one year with the junior varsity squad. "And I love performing in front of people."

Janczak said that when she is 75 and sitting in a rocking chair, she'll look back at her life with a smile, because she was a cheerleader when she was 13.

"It's such a thrill," she said.

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