Story by Sophie Hollis, Pine Whispers
Video by Madison Smith, Black and Gold
With the amount of dedication, enthusiasm and skill she brings to her squad, senior Alyssa Jones proves that to her, cheerleading is a serious sport.
“I started cheering because … I really liked the team bonding,” Jones said. “I guess all of it together makes me really excited!”
Ever since she started cheering, Jones has tried to bring a positive attitude to every game.
“I think what has made Alyssa different is not based just upon her skill, but based upon her attitude,” cheerleading coach Teri Meeks said. “You could always have a really good athlete, but you can’t always have a good attitude, so I think that’s what sets her apart.”
Jones discovered her love of cheerleading when she was only 5 years old. She started out with Pop Warner, and in her 12 years of experience, she has gained an appreciation for the opportunity to form friendships with her teams.
“You get to meet new girls. I know coming into high school, it made it really easy for me to make friends,” Jones said. “I mean, it is always exciting learning new things with the team and learning about each other.”
Jones has cheered at Reynolds since her freshman year and was one of two captains during this year’s football season.
“Alyssa is the epitome of an athlete, and I think that’s because she is very respectful,” Meeks said. “(She) has always led by example ever since ninth grade. Even when she was not a captain, she was a leader because she didn’t have to raise her voice or draw attention to herself.”
Senior cheerleader Jaiden Teague also praised Jones’ leadership: “I think she was a very good captain because she kept us together as a team and she made sure that everybody was supposed to do what they were supposed to do.”
Jones also feels that there is a lot to learn from a sport that requires so much teamwork.
“I’ve learned leadership,” Jones said. “I’ve learned how to be a leader and how to trust each other and support the team … and how to work with others.”
Throughout her years as a cheerleader, Jones has made a lasting impression on both her coaches and her teammates as someone who is always polite and fun to be around.
“She’s very sweet and very considerate of everybody else and about decisions made on the team,” former teammate and senior Raven Nash said. “She’s very understanding.”
Added Teague: “She’s very organized. She keeps a lot of things together and I think she keeps the team as a family. She makes sure everyone’s voice is heard.”
Meeks agreed that Jones is always supportive of her teammates, and that she brings a positive approach to whatever she does.
“I’ve coached Alyssa since ninth grade and she has just really lightened my day. She brightens things up,” Meeks said. “She always has a smile on her face.”
Editor’s Note: This Athlete of the Month story appeared in the February 2015 print edition of Pine Whispers. Yearbook students completed video projects on a number of RJR seniors that also will appear on the newspaper website. Enjoy!