Ms. McRae’s First Cheer Football Season


Cheerleaders at the Bonfire Bake Sale. (PHOTO BY HOFFER)

Grace McCloskey

The end of the regular Mariemont Fall Cheer and Football season is wrapping up. With that in mind, Ms. McRae puts her first season down as the football cheer coach. She’s never been a cheerleader, gymnast, or dancer. Without knowing anything about cheer, she walks away feeling “pleasantly surprised.” 

Her first notion of being a cheer coach was “well, I have no idea what I’m doing.” But when she looked at the roster of girls she couldn’t help but commit to the cheerleaders to have another season. Taking this role on, she was concerned about drama and the stereotypical cheerleader. Overall though, she was happy to learn those ideas weren’t true.

Ms. McRae looks back on her first season and expresses “it’s like I blinked.” At first at the beginning of the season it felt prolonged, but after back-to-back events and the approach of the senior night, the season went by fast. 

Ms. McRae reflects on this season saying, “I’m most proud of how different people have become different types of leaders.” She’s proud to see the growth in cheerleaders from the summer up to the end. She and the other coaches, Sydney and Sher, talk about the girls’ growth: “it’s so cool to see that.” She furthers her statement by saying, “it’s a teacher’s dream…you want to see the students grow academically but also be a better person.” 

In her classroom and cheer, Ms. McRae sets the same expectations: “Respect each other.” She doesn’t tolerate disrespectful behavior, but she explains those who are acting in that manner aren’t aware they are disrespectful. Above all, she says “it’s a teachable moment.” She reinforces her expectations in lessons she had over the summer. For instance, “who packs your parachute,” is a lesson that emphasizes being a teammate and helping out. She also has one about fostering your growth: “if your goals meet your expectations, do they meet your choices?” She also continued the tradition of cheer siblings, in which one underclassman and upperclassman are paired with each other to get to know each other.  She explains, “having these little moments of showing them that I value just being a good person in cheer, in school, but most importantly in regular life.” 

She looks to next year and the improvements she wants to make. McRae wants to prioritize team bonding. She wants to know if “there’s bonding outside of practice,” where the students take charge of team bonding. 

McRae encourages students to join cheer because of the environment: “we’ve created a little tiny family.” The coach loves to see that the girls aren’t usual classmates, and procure a strong bond with one another. She explains, “it’s a great way to make new friends.” 

Senior Captain, Ava Hoffer stated, “I had a great season with her.” She continues, “while it was her first year, she listened to cheerleaders’ opinions, made everyone feel heard, and lifted us up as the season went on.” It’s safe to say Ms. McRae has made a positive impact on current cheerleaders and will continue to do so.