By Steve Williams
Every holiday season it seems Central High cheerleaders ring bells for the Salvation Army and paint faces and make pot holders at the Fantasy of Trees.
The tradition continued this year.
What do the cheerleaders get out of this community service?
Three members of Coach Jackie Raley’s squad answered the question.
“What I get out of it is knowing that I get to put smiles on people’s faces and see the satisfaction and gratitude of people who I’ve helped,” said junior LeAnna Rogers.
Rylie Compton, another CHS junior cheerleader, replied: “It helps me to give back to the community that has given me so much and it has instilled values that I will carry with me throughout my life.”
Senior Julianna Pratt added: “What I personally get out of doing community service during the holidays is seeing the smiling reactions of those who know we are helping others.
“Just recently while ringing the Salvation Army bells, it was clear to see that individuals passing by were willing to donate, after seeing how pleased our team was to be there.”
Central football players rang bells too for the Salvation Army, noted Coach Raley.
KARNS CHEERLEADERS also have been holiday helpers, taking part in the Karns Christmas Parade on Dec. 2 and assisting in the Breakfast with Santa event at KHS on Dec. 16.
During the parade, the girls handed out candy and performed dances to Christmas music.
Breakfast with Santa, including pancakes, sausage and juice, was open to the community. There also were crafts for the kids and picture taking. The KHS chorus sang Christmas songs.
In a tour of the school, visitors got to see classroom doors that had been decorated by the staff, with each hallway having a theme.
“The cheerleaders greeted people coming in, seated them and served breakfast,” said Karns cheer coach Dewanna Glover. “They also circulated, handing out candy to everyone.”
THE DANCE TEAM at Hardin Valley Academy made blankets for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, and that’s not all.
On Dec. 15, the dance team held their third annual halftime show with the Jr. Hawkettes! Those in attendance for the HVA vs. Catholic basketball game that night got an extra holiday treat.
“We host a mini-camp every December that’s open to our feeder elementary schools,” said dance coach Meshon Crateau.
“We always save the last Friday night performance for our mini-dancers. This way, they dance the whole night with us. It’s our favorite night!”
HVA BASEBALLERS have been involved in two community service events – the Second Harvest food collection in October and the Empty Stocking Fund this month – and they will assist Lost Sheep Ministry helping the homeless in January.
“We are looking at another opportunity to do work in the community before the 2018 spring semester closes out,” said Hawks skipper Joe Michalski.
TWO VOLLEYBALL players from Berean Christian School’s TSSAA Class A state championship team provided community service in Knoxville and Atlanta.
Jenna Kohagen, a junior outside hitter, volunteered at Fantasy of Trees with the Key Club and went to Atlanta to volunteer for Samaritan’s Purse/Operation Christmas child at their distribution center.
Emily Claiborne, a sophomore outside hitter, joined her teammate as a volunteer in Atlanta.
“They put together shoe boxes full of gifts to be distributed,” said Cory Felts, volleyball coach.
Emily also volunteered to ring the bell for the Salvation Army.
THE ANGEL TREE in West Town Mall got a helping hand from Cheri Duncan’s state champion Halls cheerleaders … “The football team helped with providing food baskets for our community,” reported South-Doyle Coach Clark Duncan.