The cheer and dance team at Woodridge Elementary School in Stone Mountain can bring it on with the ranks of the big girls.
The dozen 6- to 9-year-olds have been demonstrating warrior spirit since 2011 when third-grade teacher Karol Jeffers formed the cheerleading squad to help her girls be more well-rounded.
“I wanted to give them something to do outside academics, other than reading, writing and arithmetic,” Jeffers said on March 11.
She enlisted the help of her 21-year-old daughter, Sasha, a 12-year cheerleading veteran, and held a cheer tryout.
The first- through fifth-graders were expected to learn a routine and perform it, along with any gymnastics and tumbling stunts they knew, in front of a panel of judges.
Sasha, who began cheering at age 9, helps the team learn cheers and practice stunts. The dance routines, however, are all Jeffers’.
“I cheered many moons ago, but after having two daughters in dance and cheerleading, I really grew to like it,” she said.
Jeffers draws inspiration from television and music videos, translating those moves into jazz and hip-hop routines for her team.
The Woodridge dance team performs regularly at their school and has performed at the DeKalb NAACP’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade and Redan Park’s cheer-off.
They will take the Main Stage in front of Sears at 12:30 p.m. during the CrossRoadsNews March 23 Summer Camp Expo at the Mall at Stonecrest.
Unlike high schoolers, elementary students don’t have football or basketball teams.
Jeffers said that participating in a cheer and dance team is a great way for girls to do something off-campus. “They love performing and going to events outside of a school setting. It’s really an outlet for them.”