Q/A with Cheer Captain Helicity Johnson

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Q/A with Cheer Captain Helicity Johnson

Rider cheerleader Helicity Johnson speaks at the school's first press conference earlier this month.

Rider cheerleader Helicity Johnson speaks at the school's first press conference earlier this month.

Sheridan Allen

Rider cheerleader Helicity Johnson speaks at the school's first press conference earlier this month.

Sheridan Allen

Sheridan Allen

Rider cheerleader Helicity Johnson speaks at the school's first press conference earlier this month.

Manasvi Reddy, Copy Editor

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Friday night will be a memorable one for the class of 2020 as it’s Senior Night at Rider. Senior members of JROTC, band, Raiderettes, color guard, cheerleaders and football will be recognized for their dedication and service to their organization. The Rider Chronicle will be publishing a Q&A with some of the seniors that will be recognized each day this week.

Helicity Johnson has been doing back handsprings for the crowd for four years now. With only a few football games left until she says goodbye to her sport, the varsity cheer captain sat down with The Rider Chronicle to reflect on her time on the cheer squad.

Q: What did your cheer career look like before high school?

A: So, I did cheer in elementary from third grade to sixth grade, and then in sixth grade to freshman year, I did a competitive cheer team, STAC (Small Town Awesome Cheer), which is local.

Q: Have you cheered all four years at Rider?

A: I’ve been on varsity all four years. I was the only freshman to make it on varsity and the only sophomore to make it on varsity.

Q: You’re clearly a leader on the team now. How has it been watching these underclassman girls train and improve over the past couple of years and knowing that they’re looking up to you?

A: It really brightens my day to see that they improve. I just feel good about myself because I feel like I’ve kind of helped them and guided them, so it makes me feel good.

Q: Do you have any goals for yourself or for the team during your last year?

A: To always be positive. Definitely to get better at the ooh-ahs because they were rough. And to just get our whole school to be more spirited.

Q: What’s your favorite memory from your time on the cheer squad?

A: The ACU game (between Rider and Lubbock Cooper football) my junior year. That was my favorite game. We had our megaphones, and we were, like, banging them on the seats, and we were just cheering so loud. We weren’t even supposed to win that game, but we won it. Me and my friend, Lauren (Ransier), we were just cheering so loud, and we were banging our megaphones on the bleachers that the football players were supposed to be sitting on, and we would stand up on them. That was my favorite memory.

Q: What will you miss once most about cheerleading and being on the team once you leave?

A: Just the whole sport in general because I’m not planning on doing cheer in college, so I’ll really miss crowd-leading and all of that.

Q: Have you faced any challenges or injuries while on the team?

A: When the flag comes down, and it hits you in the face, that hurts. One time I thought I broke my nose, but I haven’t. And then challenges, it’s just, especially as a captain, when people are trying to talk over you and stuff, that’s kind of hard, but you just have to push through it and tell them, like, ‘Hey, don’t do that.’

Q: How have you changed as a freshman cheerleader versus now, as a senior cheerleader? 

A: My freshman year, I was kind of scared because I was the only freshman, and I didn’t know anybody. But, now, I think I’ve gotten more outgoing, and I like to talk to everybody. So, I’ve definitely changed in that way.    

Q: Do you think that you’ll find a way to keep cheer as part of your life after high school?

A: I think I might keep it part of my life. I kind of want to do the pom squad at a school, which is not cheer, but it’s not, like, Raiderettes. It’s a mixture. So, I mean, I think I’ll keep it. Definitely all the memories. I’ll keep those.

Q: Last message to your team. What do you want them to know? 

A: Good luck on everything, good luck in life and never be scared to do something you love.

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