Cheerleading and poms will no longer decorate lockers

IMG_20150511_212758By Shreya Thakkar (@)
Hundreds of dollars, practice time, and months of work all go into making the locker signs that boys’ football, basketball and soccer lockers sport each Friday before a game.
According to the varsity cheerleading head coach Jackie Gronski, cheerleaders would start preparing the signs over the summer and pay for them out of their own pockets. Some cheerleaders would spend up to 100 dollars for materials per season. Plus, on Fridays, Gronski had to end practice 30 minutes early so cheerleaders could hang the locker signs.
“It would take away from our time to work on our skills and stunts that we needed,” Gronski said.
The cheerleading program had been thinking about ending this tradition for a few years now, and finally decided to stop decorating athletic lockers for the 2015-2016 school year and beyond. Along with the cheerleading program, poms will also stop decorating boys’ soccer lockers. However, the decision wasn’t only due to inconvenience, but also gender equality.
“I know it’s been a tradition in this school to decorate lockers, however, it’s 2015,” Gronski said. “Looking at gender equality a little bit, it’s always boys’ lockers. We do it for football and basketball season, but we don’t decorate the girls’ basketball lockers. So we want to emphasize to the school in a bigger picture that all sports are important.”
To go with that, this year cheerleaders started cheering at cross country meets and are looking to expand their support to other sports next year.
According to Gronski, the change has received support from head football coach Mike Sebestyen and Associate Principal of Student Activities Greg Minter.
Minter believes that with the change, the cheerleading program will be viewed more as an athletic program.
“I think [the reason for the change] is a combination of cheer trying to be viewed as an athletic program, similar to any of our other athletic programs,” Minter said. “ and also kind of trying to remove ourselves from that sexist way that was much more prevalent in the 60s or 70s when that’s what cheerleaders did.”