Throughout my life, it was difficult for me to find an interest that truly makes me the person I am today. I tried almost every club and sport, but nothing sparked a flame in me.

When I entered high school as a scared and shy freshman, cheerleading was still something that I was committed too. My first day of practice, I had no idea what I was throwing myself into. When I met a few of the older girls, they were very welcoming. I looked up to them as an underclassman and wanted to be just like them when I was older.

My first year cheering, I was still adjusting to the new high school atmosphere . But I knew cheerleading was something I belonged to. As the year went by, I was gradually coming out of that shell. Sophomore year, I was becoming more confident in myself as a person thanks to cheerleading. Yet I was still nervous to put myself out there. During those two years, I learned how to manage my time with school and a very time-consuming sport. I also learned the qualities of a leader from the captains. This helped a lot when it was my turn to be in charge.

When junior year was beginning, I realized now was my chance to show my coaches that I was capable of being a captain since there was only one senior on the team. Being in charge changed my perspective on what it truly was like to be a leader. It is a very different experience, watching someone being a leader and actually applying it to yourself. I learned little things at first like how to project my voice louder. I was not afraid to make mistakes because I knew that it was going to help me in the future.

As a rising senior, it was finally my time to shine. The cheer program and my team had improved so much since my freshman year. The past three years, being on the team had been preparing me for the moment when it was my turn to take charge. This was my chance to make an impact on the future of my teammates. I had freshman looking up to me, and I knew how they felt because I had once been in the exact same shoes as them.

It was not till cheer camp in July that I realized that this was my final year. I wanted to make a difference in the lives of the girls I spent countless hours a week with. At the end of camp, one of the girls who was a year younger than me came and told me, “You’re such a great leader. When we are joking around you know how to get us back in shape so we look good. Thank you for developing me into the great person I am today.” I will never forget this; it has meant so much to me.

Being the leader of a group of girls is something I am very proud of. I am not afraid to be loud and voice my opinion. Confidence is a very important key to being a young adult. To be a leader you need to have confidence. Which is why I am glad I am doing something I love that has also taught me this great life skill. Without cheerleading, I would still be shy and in my shell. Joining this team three years ago was the best decision I have made in my high school career. Being involved with this team has made me into the confident outgoing person I am today. Cheerleading will forever be a part of who I am even while I am in college.