EAST Student Contributor Sara Cline shares how she balances life as a cheerleader and as a leader in EAST, as well as explaining how EAST is for everyone.
Believe it or not, there is a huge stigma built around EAST and the kids in it. People think that EAST is full of “nerds'' and tech-crazy kids. When in reality, there are kids in EAST who are all perceived differently by their peers and their teachers.
At Paragould, for example, 50% of EAST students are student-athletes. This includes football players, basketball players, dancers, tennis players, golf team members, volleyball players, and cheerleaders.
Paragould’s EAST Conference in 2023 team consisted of six cheerleaders, two of whom were on leadership teams. Our Student Champions, Katelynn Reed and myself are cheerleaders, along with our program’s social media lead, Abbey Nicley.
It is hard to balance our lives with so many different responsibilities. In this instance, I am talking from my perspective and experiences. I am a Student Champion of my EAST program, Class Lead, Co-Captain of Paragould’s Varsity Cheerleading team, and one of the Student Contributors for EAST.
Through all of this, I somehow find time to hang out with my friends, have a job, hop over obstacles in my personal life, and keep my grades up.
Cheer takes most of my time. I have cheer two-to-three times a day for hours on end, not including 6 a.m. practices. After 6 a.m. practices or getting home late from practice the night before, I go to school for eight hours while juggling homework, classwork, due dates for EAST, and work on my actual EAST project.
After school, I either work from 5:00 – 11:00 pm. or practice cheerleading until coach says we can go home. This doesn’t include game nights or competitions.
I’m sure all teenagers feel like all they do is go, go, go. We all juggle countless things and still find time to be great and achieve amazing things. Our program is run by cheerleaders whose names are known at EAST headquarters and who all have the same exhausting schedule. We all balance spending hours working on our projects for EAST, due dates for EAST, and running our program in general. We all work hard as a team, both on and off the mat.
We have all achieved awards and have been acknowledged for our hard work and dedication to this program. These women inspire me to keep doing what I’m doing, and they let me know that I am not alone. As teenagers, we all struggle and have a lot on our plates. Somehow, we make everything work and run smoothly, EAST kids especially.
EAST consists of all types of people, no matter how they are perceived at school and within their program. We all have responsibilities, and we all have accomplished outstanding things. When people think of EAST, they sometimes think of things EAST programs accomplish rather than the people who are doing EAST: children and teenagers. It is stressful, but it is all worth being in this program and looking back at everything you have accomplished throughout the year. We are all EAST!