Senior cheerleaders say goodbye for four years of football games

The varsity cheerleaders had their last football game on Friday, Oct. 25 for their senior night. While the cheerleaders will begin their season for the basketball games, they reflected on the memories they made on Dickinson Field every Friday night. 

The senior cheerleaders said they are sad to leave what most of them have done for four years and leaving all the friends and relationships they’ve made behind.

“During the last game, it was sad to think that I’ll never cheer another game on that field and I’ll never be with the same group of girls again since I’m not planning on cheering in college,” said Virginia Lopresti, senior varsity cheerleader. “I’m really going to miss cheerleading.”

Sophie Biancalana, junior cheerleader, shares a similar sentiment about her teammates.

“I am very sad that the seniors this year are leaving. Over these past three years in the cheer program, I have created many great relationships with this year’s graduating class,” Biancalana said. 

The cheerleaders practice between three to four days per week. They work on stunting, tumbling, game preparation (sideline at every football and basketball game), and the schoolwide performance at the pep rally.

The coaches spend so much time and energy helping the cheerleaders choreograph and learn the routines that they create strong bonds with their cheerleaders.  

“Just watching the seniors take ownership and be so passionate over their project every season makes me love each performance that we put on,” said Ilyssa Hoffman, varsity cheerleading coach and school social worker.

The team’s effort and passion behind their sport radiates into the crowd at every game and assembly they perform at.  

“My favorite performance was this past homecoming performance because we [seniors] made the routine so it was cool to see it all unfold on the gym floor and made me proud that we had created it,” Lopresti said. 

The best part of cheer for many of the seniors was the team bonding activities they did to form a close-knit relationship with each other. The cheer program has a lot of opportunities for team bonding. They regularly do bonding activities and events with the program as a whole, in addition to by level.

The program has done scavenger hunts, team dinners, exercise classes, volunteer work at Feed My Starving Children, and holiday parties, they had pasta parties and went to core power yoga and had senior breakfast, among many other things that brought them all closer together as a team and as friends.

Overall, the outcome of this cheer season for the football games was a success. 

“The cheerleaders did an outstanding job choreographing, teaching, and executing the performance,” Hoffman said. 

The cheer coaches are planning goals and improvements for next year such as more work raising awareness for “Red Goes Gold” for pediatric cancer in the future. That has been their big fundraiser for the last couple of years, and September is pediatric cancer awareness month. Hoffman said that she would eventually want the program to do volunteer work with them as well.

The cheerleaders started cheering for both boys and girls basketball teams last year. The next performance is for the boys’ basketball team which will be against Naperville North on Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. in the main gym.