PREP CHEER: ‘Everyone is treated like family at Good Hope’: Ashlin Hamm recaps Raider years

Good Hope’s Ashlin Hamm. (Courtesy of Ashlin Hamm)

GOOD HOPE, Ala. — In this interview, I talked to Good Hope senior cheerleader Ashlin Hamm. Ashlin had a great high school cheerleading career and talked about what all she learned during her time as a cheerleader. She feels blessed to have cheered alongside a great group of girls for her four years.

“I would describe it as both a learning experience and a wonderful life lesson at the same. Cheerleading has taught me to set goals for myself and how to work hard towards them,” Hamm said. “I loved it. Learning to work with a team, while also building strong relationships, was so much. I took the younger girls under my wing and made sure to teach them how to be a leader.”

Ashlin took away so much from some great coaches. She talked about her favorite cheerleading and high school memories.

“My coaches mean the world to me. They taught me to work hard and always believe in myself. Coach Brandy Lowe not only pushed us to the best of our ability, but she showed us that hard work equals success. You can’t be successful without putting forth the effort,” Hamm said. “I have a lot of favorite memories, but placing third in gameday and fifth in traditional at Nationals my sophomore year has to be the best one. That was a long and stressful year, and we absolutely rocked it on the mat, hitting several zero deduction routines. My second favorite is tryouts my freshman year, when I found out that I had made the varsity team and hugging my mom afterwards. My third favorite was performing my very last gameday routine at Nationals this year. We did our absolute best and gave it our all.”

She added,

“We had so many fun high school memories. Some of my favorites were the homecoming bonfires, beating Oneonta in basketball my freshman year, experiencing Nationals in 2020 right before COVID, going to school for the first time my sophomore year after COVID, my whole junior year as a whole, Senior Night in football, watching the clock run out at the end of the game and group-hugging my team, and last but not least, running and hugging my best friend after my last football game.”

Ashlin talked about what made Good Hope a special place to go to, what she’ll remember the most about going there, and what she’ll miss the most.

“Good Hope has been a special place to me since I was a little girl and will continue to be throughout my life,” Hamm said. “One thing I will remember the most is the family-like environment. All the teachers, coaches, and other faculty members made it known that they care about you. I will miss the inspiring faculty members, Friday night football games, homecoming week, the exciting pep rallies, seeing my friends every day, dreading tests, etc. I am so thankful that I have so many wonderful memories over the past four years that will last a lifetime.”

Ashlin will take away so much from being at Good Hope and she gave some advice to the students that will be starting high school in August.

“Everyone is treated like family at Good Hope. No matter what sport you play, clubs you’re in, what your grades look like, you serve a purpose. Students at Good Hope were taught that from the beginning. I will not only consider Good Hope as a safe place, but my home as well,” she said. “My little sister will be starting high school in the fall. My advice to her and the Class of 2027: Take in every single moment. Everyone tells you that it will flash before your eyes and I can tell you that is 100% true. Four years seems like a long time, but it isn’t. Five minutes ago, I was on my way to my first day of ninth grade and now, I’m a Good Hope graduate.”

She added,

“Don’t worry about trying to be ‘popular’ or ‘fitting in’. At the end of the day, as long as you have friends that truly care about you and want what’s best for you, that’s all that matters. Do not waste any time trying to fit in with everyone else. Experience everything that you possibly can. You have no responsibility right now; take advantage of that. You have a short four years before reality starts, so have fun. Go hang out with your friends, go to that game, and talk to the guy/girl you like. You will only go through high school once, so enjoy it.”

Ashlin had several role models when she was younger, and she talked about the best advice that she was ever given.

“I always looked up to the seniors. I wanted to be just like them when my turn came and now that it has come and gone, I made it one of my top priorities to be a role model for the underclassmen,” she said. “My parents always taught me that it’s okay to fail. Life is full of many experiences and it’s almost guaranteed that you will make mistakes, but your mistakes do not define you. High school can be hard with lots of decisions to make and sometimes, you’ll make the wrong one. When that happens, you have to own up to it and move on from it.”

Ashlin received and accepted a scholarship to go to Wallace State to continue her cheerleading career. She will now be living her dream in a few short months.

“Since I started cheerleading, I dreamed of becoming a college cheerleader. I am so proud to say that my dream has become a reality. Seeing my number on the list was such an amazing feeling. All of my hard work had finally paid off. I am excited to start my next chapter,” she said. “One of the first things that I noticed was that the campus and staff was very welcoming. Everyone was super helpful and didn’t mind all of the questions.”

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