In a vibrant city known for its rich history and undeniable Southern charm, the high school cheerleading squads of Mount Pleasant have taken their team spirit beyond the football field and into the heart of the community. These dynamic young individuals have discovered the power of their voices, determination and teamwork, using their talents not only to uplift their school, but also to initiate meaningful change through a series of inspiring community service projects.
With their infectious enthusiasm and unwavering commitment, these cheerleaders have become agents of compassion, shining a light on the impact that unity and service can have on a community. From volunteering at local charities to organizing fundraisers for causes close to their hearts, these youth leaders are redefining what it means to be cheerleaders in the community.
Bishop England High School
Community service is ingrained into the education at Bishop England High School and the students volunteer throughout the year. The cheerleaders’ annual philanthropy, the Lowcountry Buddy Walk, advocates for students with special needs. They attend each year, pairing with a participant to complete the walk, and teaching them to dance and cheer along the way.
“Teaching the girls values of stewardship and humility is important to me as a coach, and inclusion is a staple of Bishop England High School,” said coach Amy Kassis. “The team enjoys our service projects because it is an extension of their daily lives.”
Each October, the BEHS cheerleaders select a women’s focused organization to support in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. They fundraise by organizing bake sales and turn the field pink on game day.
“By navigating the complexities of organizing events, managing resources and collaborating with community members, the girls have honed their leadership abilities and developed a deep sense of responsibility,” said Kassis.
This fall the BEHS cheerleaders will participate in the Light the Night Walk in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Impacting lives, one project at a time, each community service project the cheerleaders undertake leaves an indelible mark on the lives of both the volunteers and those they serve.
Lucy Beckham High School
The cheerleaders at Lucy Beckham High School not only volunteer within the Charleston community, but also communities around the world through their mission of service. Senior Emma Bruni recalled a recent trip to Belén, Costa Rica, where the squad distributed bags of essential food to families in need and participated in ministries that benefit women and children.
“The goal of these activities is to help them grow in faith and strengthen the bonds between friends and family in the community,” said Bruni. “I think it is important to participate in local and international service projects because they always give me new perspectives, teach me valuable life lessons and help me to form lasting memories.”
Through their initiatives, the cheerleaders have witnessed firsthand the transformative power of kindness and compassion.
“On a local level, I have found value in mentoring and participating in the lives of the next generation of Charleston youth. Internationally, it was meaningful for me to experience another country and their culture in a stunningly unfiltered way,” Bruni said.
Senior Tegan McInnes recalls another rewarding experience with her squad helping the camp goers of Vacation Bible School in Charleston.
“We had the privilege to lead a group of kids, play games, art and crafts, science projects, Bible studies and learn about missionaries around the world. It was such a blessing to have the opportunity to be a part of these kids’ journey with Jesus,” said McInnes. “I hope that the Charleston community recognizes that our squad does more than just cheer! We are so fortunate to live in an affluent area, and we are grateful for the opportunity to serve outside our comfort zone.”
Palmetto Christian Academy
The mission of Palmetto Christian Academy’s Cheer Program is to glorify God by following his guidance in transforming lives through servant leadership, academic excellence and accountability, developing spiritual growth and promoting school spirit and excellence in athletics. This season the varsity and junior varsity squads of PCA will spread school pride and serve downtown Charleston’s homeless and urban population through the Hot Dog Ministry. The Hot Dog Ministry was started in 2008 by a group of College of Charleston students on a mission to share God’s love through gospel, prayer and delicious meals including pizza, lasagna and of course, hot dogs.
“My belief is that service projects are important, and an opportunity for the girls to enrich their lives,” said PCA’s varsity coach Megan Stuckey. “As a coach, my ‘why’ is two words: influence and impact; and I aim to model this in all ways because they themselves also are an influence and have the ability to make a positive impact.”
Commented PCA teacher and JV cheerleading coach Rachel Tisdale, “It’s important for our girls to participate and serve our community because by doing so we come together as one and are able to accomplish good things.”
Cheerleading squads across the town are proving that cheerleading is not merely a performance art, but also a powerful tool for positive change. Through their selfless dedication and unwavering spirit, these young athletes elevate the meaning of community service, leaving an indelible impact on the lives of those they serve.
In an era where unity and empathy are needed more than ever, they serve as an inspiring reminder that small acts of kindness can bring about significant transformation within a community. As their pom-poms and voices continue to uplift others, they embody the true spirit of Charleston, showcasing the city’s resilience, compassion and unwavering commitment to progress.
By Sarah Makuta