Five, Six, Seven, Eight!

Senior Paves Her Own Path Through Cheer


Photo Courtesy of Keyona Williams

Senior Keyona Williams, poses for a picture with two of her fellow cheerleaders. Due to COVID-19 restrictions cheerleaders were required to maintain a distance as well as wear masks. “Cheering this year was fantastic,” Williams said. “I really enjoyed our routines and getting to know the other girls on the team. I’m glad I had the chance to experience this before I go.”

Isaiah Prophet, Reporter

The sport of cheerleading has been traced back to Great Britain in the 1860s, according to EpicSports. Since then, the activity has had a major impact on American high school culture accorded the country. Many cheerleaders take their competitions very seriously, and this couldn’t be more true for senior Keyona Williams.

“I enjoy cheer because it keeps me active,” Williams said. “I love the atmosphere of the games and competing with my team. I’ve wanted to be a cheerleader ever since watching it on movies when I was little. It looked so fun and I thought it would be something I would enjoy.”

Williams has been cheering since the fourth grade, and this year marks her first year cheering for CPHS. She was previously unable to join as a junior since she was a new student, but this year she made the team. COVID-19 has caused major changes to what she expected her year to be. For example, due to COVID-19, training has been cut short and performers must wear masks during their workouts and performances in order to ensure safety. Despite these changes, Williams still manages to balance her routine and training regime. 

“Because of COVID we missed a lot of summer bonding activities and we couldn’t stand in front of the crowd during games,” Williams said. “Other than that, our workouts consist of cardio followed by a video guide to practice our choreography and build our muscle. My favorite dance would have to be the cactus dance. We do this routine before the band starts playing and it really gets me excited to perform.”

As for her track record for this year, she’s cheered in 12 individual games for the football season and a performance for the girl’s basketball team for their state game. According to Williams each routine is a mashup of different dance moves that they learned during practices. This helps keep the routines different and exciting for each game. That freshness is what allowed Williams help the cheer team place fifth at state this year and achieve National status this past in February.

“Becoming national champions was a hallmark point in my cheer career,” Williams said. “I’ve always loved cheer, but I never thought I would be capable of achieving this level of status. We all work extremely hard this year and I’m very happy that our goals paid off. And I know that it took a lot for us to come together and get to this point.”

Despite her senior year not being exactly what she was expecting, she said she feels that she still learned a lot from her experience and was able to adjust to her new school environment. Williams said that she was still able to build lifelong bonds with the people cheering with her and she recommends cheer for any other girls looking to carve something out of themselves.

“This year’s best memory was probably senior night,” Williams said. “We got to celebrate our senior year with our performance at a football game, which was my favorite performance of the year. Before going out, I’m usually very nervous, but I just think about how great the feeling of cheering is and it helps me feel much better.” 

Williams is planning to attend Sam Houston University to study psychology. She plans of focusing on school for her first year of college, but hopes to get back into cheerleading again after freshman year of college. Williams attributes much her success and future to what she learned here at CPHS and is thankful for her time shared on campus.

“I’m glad I got to experience as much as I could at CPHS,” Williams said. “I’ve gained the knowledge and work ethic that I need to go into college prepared and ready for whatever hits me. A little advice I would give is to make sure you take your education seriously because four years sneaks up quicker than you realize, but don’t let school rule your life.”