Haughton cheer wins LHSAA community spirit award

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The Haughton High School cheerleaders have a motto that embodies the team’s belief in giving back to the community in which they live.

They say “a good cheerleader is not measured by the height of her jumps, but by the span of her spirit.” In this case, the team could be heard cheering all the way from Baton Rouge last week.

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) selected the Haughton High cheerleaders as the recipient of the 2014 Spirit of Louisiana Community Service Award. The award is an opportunity for cheerleading teams of member schools to be recognized on a state and national level for the service, support and spirit-raising activities that positively impact the school and surrounding community.

The Haughton High School cheerleaders have certainly taken their sport well beyond the game field. Among their accolades are participating in a pink out football game for breast cancer awareness and raising more than $6,000 through t-shirt sales for the American Heart Association. The money was donated in honor of Head Coach Rodney Guin, who suffered a major heart attack last April.

“I was so happy to receive this award because it shows our hard work really does pay off,” senior Taylor Duncan said. “This is a very memorable ending to a great two years of cheering for the Haughton Buccaneers.”

Senior Emily Lee added that she, too, was excited because “because it is very rewarding to be a member of such an outstanding cheer squad.”

Mona Duncan, parent and teacher at Haughton High, said she’s proud of the team’s consistent work in supporting the school and community. She put together the team’s portfolio, which highlighted their community service activities, athletic support and academic accomplishments, for the LHSAA.

“They do so much more than cheer,” Duncan said. “We live in a tight-knit community that was brought together even more so when our beloved Coach Rodney Guin had his heart attack last spring. These girls took it upon themselves to take their spirit and show that everyone can make a difference. In doing so, they have touched many lives!”

Duncan added that an integral part of the team’s success is Kelli Shaw, the team sponsor.

“They are a reflection of her sweet, sweet spirit,” Duncan said of Shaw. “[The team] wouldn’t be where they are without her.”

Shaw, who is in her 20th year as cheerleading sponsor at Haughton High, said she couldn’t be prouder of her team.

“These girls do so much more than just cheering. It is so rewarding to see them recognized for their involvement and commitment to their community,” she said. “They volunteer their time simply because they love the people of Haughton and they love their school. They are genuinely kind, compassionate, and caring young ladies. They do all of these things without expecting anything in return. They enjoy helping others and I am proud of the positive recognition they bring to Haughton High School. It is such a privilege to work with them.”

Members of the Haughton cheer team are Gracie Allen, Jessica Blank, Jenna Blank, Kimberly Cook, Makenzie Dick, Taylor Duncan, Lindsey Fay, Taylor Frazier, Kaitlin Haley, Jessie Harbour, Miranda Hernandez, Courtney Jackson, Luna Karkar, Emily Lee, Genet Leist, Cassidy Meadows, Meagan Nesbit, Kaylin O’Glee, Savannah O’Neal, Emma Payne, Sarah Ryan and Sarah Beth Sewell.