Stockton and Plainville high school cheerleading squads came together on December 20 to show support for county residents diagnosed with cancer in a powerful display of cheer squad dance routine excellence and county unity.
Prompted by a desire to do something different for their annual fundraiser to benefit the Rooks County Cancer Council, the Stockton squad decided to reach out to inter-county rival Plainville and team up in order to increase the fundraising potential.
Stockton cheer sponsors Jessica Billinger and Donna Hamilton laid the groundwork for the unified routine. Billinger stated “We wanted to do something to include most of Rooks County. We contacted administrators of both schools and got the event approved. We contacted Cardinal Creations who came up with the design and made the t shirts for the event. We also thought it would be neat to show unity for a great cause. That is when we came up with the idea of performing a routine together at halftime of the Tigers/Cardinals basketball game”.
Mallory Buresh, head cheer coach for Plainville, choreographed the challenging routine. Billinger noted that finding times to practice was difficult due to conflicting schedules and with a group of girls that are active in many activities. The squads were able to practice together only five times before the performance.
The cheerleaders made the most of their short time working together to make the event such a success, while also enjoying the challenge. Madalyn Billinger, Stockton cheerleader, said “I thought it was cool to work with another school to raise money for a great cause. It was also fun to perform with another cheer squad”.
Jasmine Creighton, Plainville cheer squad captain noted that overcoming the novelty of working out a routine with another squad was a little daunting at the start.
“At first we were all skeptical about performing together but as our practices went on we all started to come together and it even became fun! It was such a satisfying feeling when we all hit our stunts perfectly throughout the dance and it was even more satisfying when we all handed money to the cancer council! I hope that this will continue between the two squads because I would love for future members to always have this opportunity” said Creighton.
Buoyed by the success of the difficult routine (cheers went up throughout the gym at its conclusion) and by the amount of money raised, members of both squads expressed the hope that they could continue the event annually to help raise funds for the Rooks County Cancer Council.
The effort raised $800 for Rooks County Cancer Council. The united squads presented the donation to Council volunteer Karen Hageman following their routine during half time of the December 20 Stockton/Plainville boys basketball game.
Rooks County Cancer Council, supported by the Rooks County Healthcare Foundation, uses funds received that are designated by donors to provide fuel vouchers to offset travel costs to treatments and appointments as well as nutritional supplements for qualifying Rooks County residents who have been diagnosed with cancer.
For more information on the Rooks County Cancer Council call 785-688-4428