Hear them roar

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Benton’s cheer squad performs on and off the field

The Benton High School cheerleaders are letting their actions speak much louder than their words.

The athletes have not only dedicated their time to being good students and team spirit ambassadors, but are making an extra effort to spread happiness (and cheer) through monthly community service projects.

Recently, they traveled to Shriners Hospital for Children in Shreveport to spend time decorating sugar cookies with patients. Senior Kaleigh Key said it was an eye opening experience, one that most high schoolers will never get.

For that reason alone, Key said she embraces her role as a Benton High cheerleader as a chance to make a difference.

“We are here for a purpose and that is to serve our community,” Key said. “I’m grateful that we can use our talent the way we do. Being part of this team has opened the door to many great opportunities.”

Beth Davis, cheer sponsor and coach, has been with the team for four years and said she tries to get the team involved in one community service activity each month. A yearly tradition for the team is participating in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event during the fall.

“Rain or shine, we will be there for them,” Key added. “They love the support and we love being there for those who have battled cancer.”

Senior and Co-Captain Lexie Miller said community service projects are not only an opportunity to give back, but to help the team bond outside of school and practice.

“These girls are part of my life and are like my second family,” Miller said. “I know without a doubt these girls have my back at all times.”

Undertaking such a service oriented team, Davis said, means long hours, hard work and relying on a dedicated group of girls to support each other through it all.

“These girls work hard, if not harder, than most athletic teams and are incredibly talented, but they truly do care about each other,” Davis said. “That speak volumes of this team, more so than what people see on the sidelines.”

Their community service has gained attention at the state level too. Last year, the team received the Spirit of Louisiana Award from the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA). The award is given to the top all-around cheerleading programs in Louisiana that exemplify community service, outstanding school athletic support, spirit raising activities and academics.

So what does it take to be a Benton High cheerleader? Miller said she sees her role as co-captain as a chance to be a role model at her school and someone who influences school spirit among her peers.

The team not only cheers for school events, but they make goodie bags for the football team and participating in other extracurricular activities, clubs and organizations.

This year, they are taking their talent into the competitive circuit as well. The Benton High cheerleaders will compete for a national championship title in January, a first time experience for the team. Until then, they will continue to support their Tigers from the sideline, pump up the crowd through chants and cheers while serving the community they live in every chance they get.