Dedicated cheer captain prepares to graduate

IUS Horizon

Valerie DeVore
Valerie DeVore

As co-captain of the IUS cheer squad, avid cheer competitor and coach at Southern Indiana Gymnastics Society, Valerie DeVore, elementary education senior, has a driving passion for all things cheer.

Although cheerleading was not something DeVore initially thought she would be interested in, her mother encouraged her to give it a shot.  Discovering that she truly enjoyed it, she has been in some form of cheerleading  since the seventh- grade.

During high school, she competed with SIGS all-star squad and performed with the New Albany High squad for sports games through her freshman year, she also met and cheered with fellow co-captain Gabby Harvey, advertising junior.

DeVore’s reasons for remaining in cheerleading squads for so many years, is her love of working together as a team and competing.

“If I could choose between performing at a game and competition, I would choose the competition,” DeVore said.

Her individual medals that she has won over time include Jump Off Finalist, 100 percent award, Leadership Award, Best Attitude Award, and Most Talented.

DeVore currently works at SIGS and has been coaching gymnastics for about five and a half years.

“Absolutely love it.  Every day is something new.  I’d get more excited than the kids would when they would learn a new skill,” DeVore said.

She has coached nine competitive teams during her time at SIGS. It was her time at SIGS that made her decide to major in elementary education.

The current IUS squad has 15 members, which is an increase from last years six.  Last year’s captain, Portia Steele, also went on to become an assistant coach to the squad.

“The great thing about our coaches is that they are really young and can relate to us,” DeVore said.

DeVore’s position as co-captain on the squad is no small title.  During practices, she is responsible for assisting the coaches as much as possible and to weigh in on new stunts and cheers, but during a game there is more responsibility.

“[Valerie and I] balance each other out, I’m more stern foot and she’s more the motherly type,” Harvey said.

Game time requires DeVore and Harvey, to know each cheer and to make sure that everyone knows what they are doing.

With practices two times a week and  one or two  games a week once they start, toss in work and school, and all that doesn’t leave much time for outside activities.

“Almost everything she does is intertwined with school and work,” Harvey said.

When she gets a free moment, DeVore enjoys volleyball, running and working out with buddies.  The non-athletic hobbies she enjoys are scrapbooking, writing short stories, poems and even school assignments. She has also competed in the Harvest Homecoming pageant as well as the Miss Indiana pageant. DeVore has won the Harvest Homecoming pageant twice.

“She is the sweetest girl you’ll ever meet in your life,” Harvey said.

Recently the squad went to a private cheer camp at Gold Star Athletics in Indianapolis to prepare for a competition in March.

They are going to have the entire competition routine choreographed by Patrick Cowherd, co-founder, owner and coach of Gold Star Athletics.  Training begins the first week of November, but, in order for them to have Patrick choreograph their routine, extensive fundraising is required.

“It’s a huge time commitment, people don’t realize. It’s great that we have 15 girls dedicated to supporting the school,” DeVore said.

The squad has done numerous fundraisers already, which include car washes, crimson and cream tea-time, home candle fundraising, and they tried to do a road block but were rained out.

Future fundraising includes a cheer clinic for kids fourth through fifth -grade. The squad will have the kids all day working with them to create a routine for them to perform during a game that evening.

DeVore is working on completing courses for her honors research minor and will graduate in December 2009 with a degree in elementary education.

Staff Writer