Cheerleading impacts local community, campus life
August 08, 2010

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Cheerleading coach Janice Perron has had two main objectives since being hired last November to relaunch Bryan's cheerleading program:  to recruit a team to cheer at the men's basketball games and to develop a team to serve as college ambassadors on campus and in the local community.

Regarding the first goal, Coach Perron has recruited a team of fourteen outstanding young women, five current students and nine new students (see roster).  And she is well on her way with the second goal as well.  The team represented Bryan in the community earlier this summer when Coach Perron worked at Dayton's Strawberry Festival's Family Fun Night and more recently when the team offered a cheerleading clinic in town.  Besides stunting the students, the cheerleaders also taught the students basic basketball rules, offense/defense, cheer etiquette based on positive cheering (lift up your team; don't put down other teams or referees), halftime cheers, sideline cheers, and jumps and tumbling.

Left photo: Coach Perron poses with children who took in some of the fun at Dayton's
Strawberry Festival.  Middle and right photos from cheer clinic: With the assistance of Kara
Leigh (left), Ashley Green (right), and Kelsey Williamson spotting in the back, one
student is learning how to do a hanging drill and the other a gut stand.

Coach Perron's vision for the team is ambitious.  She believes in building on a foundation of a positive cheering policy that focuses on having fans cheer for our team while at the same time promoting Bryan's Christian values in ways that discourage negativity towards game officials and the other team.  Besides basketball cheering, the team will be supporting all of the sports as well as other activities and groups on campus with the goal of promoting school spirit and school unity.

"One of our challenges," explained Coach Perron, "will be breaking the Hollywood 'cheerleader' stereotype.  The team is not a bunch of conceited, self-centered girls that are just cheerleaders for the outfit.  These girls are sweet, intelligent, selfless, and excited to use the gifts God has given them to encourage the Bryan community, the athletic teams, and to represent Bryan in the community."

"Reinstituting the cheerleading program at Bryan has been for many years a passion of Mrs. Markie Haynes, wife of Chairman of the Board Col. John Haynes," remarked President Stephen Livesay. "Markie, who is a former cheerleading coach and strong advocate of Christian cheerleading, has supported through her encouragement, wise counsel, enthusiasm, and financial resources the addition of cheerleading to our roster of new 2010-2011 sports."  (Other sports being added this academic year are golf and softball.)

Cheerleading is a year-round support sport:  jumps, tumbling, and stunting require athletic skills and regular practice sessions.  In addition, the cheerleaders will encourage school spirit among the teams and fans by decorating, making goodie bags, and sponsoring theme game nights.  The team also hopes to compete at the Christian Cheerleaders of America Nationals in the spring.

Dr. Livesay concludes, "We are excited about the spirit and contribution that these student athletes will make in our local community, to our sports programs, and to campus life."