GOOD HOPE, Ala. — Another year of cheer season is here and for Good Hope senior Ashlin Hamm, it has been an amazing experience for her. She feels so blessed to cheer alongside a great group of girls. She has taken away a lot of things during her time as a cheerleader. They have nine returning cheerleaders this season and they have worked hard over the summer to get better and better each day.
“It’s been such an amazing experience. I’ve made so many great friendships. I’ve learned that success is achieved through hard and continuous work. Not one of the many titles we’ve earned was handed to us,” Hamm said. “We lost some amazing girls from last year, but we also have some experienced girls returning. We have a great group of girls, and we are working really hard to prepare ourselves for the upcoming cheer competition season, while also cheering on our sports teams as well.”
Raiders Head Coach, Brandy Lowe, has been coaching for eight years and seven of them have been at Good Hope. Ashlin feels blessed to have her as her coach and has soaked up as much from her as possible.
“She is the most wonderful coach. No matter the situation, she always believes in us. Sometimes, when we’re working on a hard skill or just having a tough day in general, she reassures us that we are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. She knows we can accomplish great things and never doubts us. She is a strong believer in hard work and being dedicated to the things you love,” Hamm said. “During my time with her, she’s taught me so many great things. One of the things she has taught me is that everything you want, you must work for. Nothing comes easy. Without her, I would not be where I am today. I have never had a coach who has cared about me and my team more than Brandy Lowe, and I am so thankful for her.”
Ashlin has learned some things from the upperclassmen before her and she has taught the younger cheerleaders some of the same things. She grew up watching the varsity cheerleaders and now, her dream is coming true.
“I learned a lot about being a leader from the upperclassmen. They showed me that it’s about being someone to look up to for the underclassmen, not someone they fear. I felt prepared for this year because of the captains I’ve had in the past. Aside from teaching them new skills and basic fundamentals, I’ve also been teaching the younger cheerleaders how to become leaders, just like the upperclassmen taught me. Being a cheerleader is so much more than cheering on the sidelines. I want the younger girls to understand that good character and good sportsmanship play a huge role in becoming a leader, ” she said. “I always looked up to the varsity cheerleaders while I was growing up, even before I started cheering. They were always having fun on the sidelines and I am now living my dream.”
Ashlin and her team worked on a lot during the summer, and they also worked on a very important trait as well. Ashlin has set some goals for her and the whole cheer team.
“During the summer, we worked on progressing our skill level, but most importantly, we worked on becoming closer, not only as teammates, but as sisters also,” she said. “I want to make this year the most memorable, while also having fun. One goal that I have set for myself is to be a better role model for the little girls in the stands, watching us on Friday nights and dreaming of the day they will get to cheer on the same field, just like I did. Some of our team goals are to advance to state and win a state title; we also want to advance to state for the fourth year in a row. If we keep up the hard work and commitment, I’m sure we can accomplish our goals and more.”
Ashlin talked about what will make this cheer squad so special to watch this year.
“This year’s team has a super-tight bound. Everyone is close with everyone and it’s definitely going to show on the mat. Close-bonded teams make better performances. We know how to have fun competing and that’s something almost every judge looks for in a team.”
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