Chip in to cheer
Students face a more than $800 fee if they want to cheer. Cost has dissuaded several potential members, but the team is trying to solve the issue.
Pom poms and tumbling mats do not come cheap. The fee for each of the 13 varsity cheerleaders is $844. The price also covers the cost of uniforms, practice clothes, shoes and camp. The main reason for this year’s steep fee was the five-day cheer camp at the University of Central Florida. The camp alone cost $386.
Despite the cost, junior Lia Harris thought the experience was worth the sizable price tag.
“We learned new stunts, worked on our jumps, did dances and cheers and learned new skills,” Harris said. In order to cover the cost Harris had to take a job at Publix. Since Harris pays for cheer by herself she has to work three days a week.
Some of Harris’ teammates are accustomed to the expensive price. Captain Dara Alligood, a senior, was a Level 10 gymnast before started cheer. Since the gymnastics team was run privately it was even more expensive because the team did not receive school funding.
The cheer team receives funding from the school for competitions and traveling, but there are still students who are not able to afford the costs. “I’ve had people personally tell me they won’t tryout when they find out the estimated price of [cheer]”, Alligood said.
Not only has the cost deterred new people from trying out, it is also a burden on the returning cheerleaders. “The high cost of cheer has almost stopped me from cheering this year,” senior Pearl Obioha said. However, Obioha was not willing to let the cost stop her from competing. She started a GoFundMe and worked over the summer so she would be able to join the team.
In an attempt to make the price more manageable they conduct fundraisers throughout the year. They do car washes, sell shirts, keychains and Krispy Kreme donuts. Each cheerleader also goes to different businesses to try and get sponsors. They are currently sponsored by several restaurants and Beck.
The coaches have also decided to keep the same practice apparel and uniforms for next year. This means that the returning players will only have to pay for camp instead of an entirely new wardrobe. For the past several seasons the players had to pay for new clothes each year. Assistant coach Loren Nieves thinks the change will help alleviate the costs and satisfy the returning members.