Kindergarten through fourth grade girls at Frank Layden Elementary School are participating in what has become an annual tradition.
Around 85 girls are taking part in the Little Raider Cheer clinic, which started Thursday afternoon and ends tonight during Frontenac’s game against Baxter Springs. The Frontenac High School cheerleaders run the clinic, which is their main fundraiser of the year, and teach the girls a cheer, a chant and a dance, said Robin Craig, who with Anita Edwards is a co-instructor of the squad. The girls will perform with the cheerleaders at today’s pep rally at noon, then during half-time of the football game.
“It’s become a tradition,” said Craig, who teaches first grade. “It’s a way to get these kids involved with the high school. They look up to them a lot and see them as role models. They always see them in the halls and say ‘Hi.’”
Craig said the cheerleaders have as much fun running the clinic as the youngsters have participating in it.
“They enjoy working with the younger girls, and they always look forward to it,” Craig said.
The old gym was bursting with the sound of 85 little girls, lined up and trying to get the hang of things.
“Peanut butter jelly, spreeeeeaaad out!” cheerleader Stephanie Edwards said into the microphone as the two other cheerleaders, Brooke Hill and Lexi North, tried to space the girls. “Crackers and cheese, spread out please.”
Edwards, who has participated in the clinic before and was running it for the first time, said she like seeing the girls get excited but that co-ordinating 80 to 90 little kids isn’t always easy.
“It takes lots of games and trying to have fun with them,” Edwards said during a cookie break.
Edwards said being the leader of the clinic requires more responsibility than she was used to having. She thought for a minute.
“And you have to use your voice a LOT more,” she said.
For Edwards, teaching the clinic is about just having fun.
“I just like being out in front of the crowd and pumping them up, and I think the little girls do, too.”