Hi-Line Living: Cheering on the Hi-Line


Last updated 9/20/2019 at 9:21am

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Havre High School cheerleaders take pride in bringing pride to high school events.

"We define it as a representative of the high school - cheerleaders are the pride and the respect of Havre High," Havre High School cheerleading coach Stephanie Borst said.

Borst said cheerleading has been around at Havre High since the high school started. She said she has found cheerleading uniforms dating back to the 1960s and '70s.

The history of cheerleading in the United States goes back more than a century. On Nov. 2, 1898, a man named Johnny Campbell of the University of Minnesota was recognized as the first cheerleader. Campbell put an official team together to do cheers at his university's football games and from there that was the start of cheerleading.

Members of the squad say they have gained great experience from cheering.

Havre High School Senior Sonya Mooney said she cheered one year in middle school and all four years of high school.

"It taught me how to interact with people a lot better than I did in the past, because I used to be  a really shy person, then I started cheerleading and I opened up," Mooney said.

  "In general, I think it promotes something really healthy not just physically, but mentally, as well, because you do have to try to be happy, upbeat, try to be friendly with people, and I think that doesn't just help us coaches, but the girls," Borst said.

"It taught me to be more outgoing and get more involved because, before cheer, I was in only one club and this got me out there doing stuff," Havre High School senior Jessica Majerus said.

"I wasn't planning on being a cheerleader. I just wanted to try and turns out I really like it," Havre High School senior Alexis Converse said.

"It takes a lot of strength and endurance that people don't understand, that it's not just looking cute on the sidelines." Borst said.

Another Havre High School program that works alongside the cheering squad during games is the Havre High Color Guard, coached by Angie Pratt.

She said 12 girls audition and then perform choreographed numbers with the marching band, as well as present colors at the home football and basketball games.

She added that, so far, the color guard has only done school-sponsored functions but would be willing to be a part of other events if the opportunity arose.

"It teaches teamwork, organizational skills, memorization, motor skills, self confidence, school pride, understanding the importance and how to respect and care for our country and state flags," Pratt said. "I like it because of the excitement the students show for the new skill and appreciation that they gain."

Borst said the cheer squad has many traditions, such as the cheerleaders doing pushups for points during football games. That has been going on since the '80s, she said. When the Blue Pony football team scores a touchdown the cheerleaders do push ups. 

"For example, if we score six points and an extra point, so seven, we will do seven push ups. The next time we score again we add to it, not doing just the seven." She said. "That is a real crowd pleaser to watch the cheerleaders"

What it takes to be a Havre High cheerleader, Borst said, is to have a good attitude and enthusiasm. 

"Anybody is coachable," she said. "As long as they are willing to learn, anyone can be a cheerleader."

She added that she doesn't make any cuts to be on the team, so a total of 13 girls, four freshmen, four sophomores, one junior and four seniors, are cheering right now.

The girls practice four days a week, depending on game days, for an hour and a half to an hour and 45 minutes.

Borst said cheerleading is a school activity 10 months out of the year with two seasons - fall and winter, for the girl or boy cheerleaders support in fall or winter sports and activities, but continue through the spring to early summer for cheer camp.

The last time they attended the Universal Cheerleaders Association camp, in 2017, the Havre High School cheerleaders won the spirit award all three days, the overall spirit award, and the banana award, which means most pep.

She said not many people realize the cheerleading season is that long.

Cheerleading is more than just cheering, she added.

"You are not just working on cheers, dances and chants you are also fine tuning with the other team members you are with, to meet other people, so it can be physically and mentally demanding," Borst said.

She said that the cheerleaders cheer for every activity, though it may not be the physical aspect of cheering. For example, she said, at golf tournaments, before the tee off they would go do a chant or a cheer with a poster of some sort that may say, "HHS cheerleaders love Havre High golf" and everyone signs it.

The girls also perform at cross country, swimming, volleyball, wrestling ,and girls and boys basketball, and have supported the speech and debate team by putting up posters to cheer on the team.

Borst said the cheerleaders have done other events, such as face painting during the Bullhook Bottoms Black Powder Shoot and on the same day, did face painting out at the veterans and first responders barbecue at Pepin Park.

She added that they also help out with the law enforcement National Night Out and employee dinners with the school district. They host Little Pony Cheer Camp in the fall on Blue and White day and host another camp in the winter season toward the second-or third-to-last home game.


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