Cheerleading. Some may say it's a sport, some may disagree. Regardless of which one you believe, I hope that the following story will touch you and bring out the same amount of anger as I felt earlier today when my mother was sharing it with me. For hundreds of thousands of young girls and guys, it is a way of life. They spend countless hours in the gym, at sporting events, and even their free time, preparing for upcoming performances and competitions. I myself have never been a cheerleader but from what I have experienced from being around countless cheerleaders is that it's more of a lifestyle than just a "hobby," or even a sport for that matter.
That being said, this is the story of Kyleigh Yoshida and the hell that her high school's new principle has put upon her.
Kyleigh, a family friend, sweetest girl ever, and a devout cheerleader goes to East Hamilton High School, a school in my hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Middle/High school opened it's doors merely 5 years ago to grades 6-12. (Actually the first year there was no 12 due to academic guidelines, scholarship opportunities and such). It opened under a principle with the name of Pam Dantzler, who from the looks of things, retired way too soon. She was beloved by all and sadly decided to retire after only being at the school for a few years. Ever since she left, things have gone downhill. The new principal, Gail Chuy, or Ms. Chuy, as the students know her, seems to have nothing to contribute to the positive growth and atmosphere that East Hamilton has set forth. From what i've encountered from multiple parents, all she has is a multitude of complaints under her belt, yet still hasn't quit for some unknown reason.
Since the tender age of 3 years old, Kyleigh has made a point to have cheerleading a part of her life and her family and friends have supported her through it's entirety. Not only has she been on the basketball and football squads since middle school, she has also been on the schools competition team, which just a few weeks ago traveled to nationals and came home with happy hearts and high scores. She was the cheer captain at one point and even got All American at the Disney Thanksgiving Parade. Even with her busy schedule Kyleigh, at the age of 17 now, has still managed to pursue cheerleading at a local competition cheerleading gym, RAH, where I myself have traveled to Atlanta and watched her compete.
With all of that being said, it came as quite a shock to most when they found out that after the schools cheerleading tryouts on March 21st, Kyleigh did not make the High School Football cheerleading squad. I understand that you don't always get what you want, and that life definitely isn't fair, but this girl deserves to be recognized for all of her time and hard work that she has devoted to cheerleading. Many parents have contacted Kyleigh and her mother showing their outrage about the situation and support for her.
Now as for Gail Chuy. The new principal took it upon herself to be on the judges panel for the tryouts. Anyone who has ever tried out for anything in there entire life, be it a sport or a seat in your city's symphony, the number one rule for judges is that you may not know or be affiliated with any of the people auditioning. This rule is put in place for a reason. To alleviate favoritism and give a fair chance to all trying out. Not only did Kyleigh not make the football squad, there was another girl who wanted to try out. She had a recent injury that prevented her from trying out, so instead she sent in a former tape of her tumbling abilities and the principal put this girl on the squad. (*For the record, i'm not saying that the injured girl shouldn't have made it, because obviously it's not fair that she couldn't really try out, but made it over Kyleigh? No, that shouldn't have happened. That is my personal opinion.)
If it was any other year, or if this was not such a big deal in Kyleigh's life, this wouldn't really be a problem. But anyone who plays or played a sport in high school can sympathize and comprehend how big of a deal it would be to suddenly not be able to participate your senior year. Your senior year of high school is one of the best years of your life, and I cannot imagine not being able to do the one thing i've spent so much of my life working towards, simply because a principal doesn't think you're the right fit for the team. The team you've been on for the past three years. The team you chose to spend your precious time with helping them be the best that they can be.
You wouldn't take a football, basketball, or baseball player out of the game their senior year, so why a cheerleader? To some, this may not be a big deal, and if you're one of those people, I simply don't understand you. Hopefully, others can see how outrageous this is. I don't know what this article can do about it but I know it can't hurt. Please share anywhere you think it could gain traction and let's bring some justice for this beautiful, talented, cheerleader!