Emily York '21 has been named caption of the St. Thomas High School cheerleaders. The squad, made up of girls from Incarnate Word Academy, Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart and St. Agnes Academy, cheers at St. Thomas varsity football and basketball games. As captain, Emily works with both the varsity and junior varsity cheerleaders.
"I started cheering after my freshman year," said the senior. "I was on JV my first year, and made varsity after that."
She said the difference between the JV and varsity cheerleaders is that the varsity team typically performs more difficult routines and stunts, and that the JV team cheers for St. Thomas' junior varsity games, typically held on Thursdays. While the JV and varsity cheerleaders occasionally perform together at games such as the annual St. Thomas and Strake Jesuit High School football game, it's the varsity squad out there on the sidelines on Friday nights.
Emily was part of a dance and drill team before coming to IWA. That's where she learned to love the precision of POM routines. As a founding member of IWA's Impact Dance Team, Emily is also used to collaborating with other members of her teams, as well as stepping in with her own ideas.
"The cheers we use are made the coaches or past cheerleaders," she explained. "And the coaches work with us on the routines. I made a routine when I was on JV, and put music and jumps with it."
During remote learning, Emily recorded herself doing some of the team's cheers, as well as breaking them down piece by piece and sharing them on the shared drive the cheerleaders use. She also worked to clear the drive of information that was no longer up to date. She believes those efforts are part of why she was named captain.
Obviously, she is excited about taking on the role.
"It's a chance for me serve, and help my team be the best we can be," she explained. "But this year, the majority of the team is made up of IWA girls. I think that's cool."
She also hopes that will encourage other IWA students to try out for the team.
"Everyone on the team is really talented," she said. "And we're all working toward the same goal."
Emily said that she pushes herself to be better in what she does, as well looking for ways to give back. That spirit is one of the things she likes about IWA, where she is also part of the Campus Ministry Team, the National Honor Society, part of the Young Leaders Program and the Spanish Honor Society. She said being named captain has made here think more deeply about ways to be involved and to give of herself.
"I love being part of a team that looks good and performs well," she said. "Being captain has me thinking about ways the team can grow, and I want to help that happen any way I can. But I know I'd want that even if I wasn't captain."
Emily and her teammates will perform on Friday, Sept. 25 as the Eagles' home opener against El Campo. Kick off is 7 p.m.