PREP CHEER: ‘I will always remember our community’: Good Hope’s Kailey White recaps Raider career

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Good Hope’s Kailey White. (Courtesy of Kailey White)

GOOD HOPE, Ala. — In this interview, I spoke with Good Hope senior cheerleader Kailey White. Kailey enjoyed her cheer career with the Raiders and she shared some of her favorite memories and talked about what it was like to be on the sideline and cheer with some amazing teammates.

“Some of my favorites would have to be when we played pranks on each other at Disney this year, working with young athletes at our clinics and VCA, and getting to be on the sidelines every Friday night,” White said. “It was and continues to feel like a family. They all really have grown to feel like my sisters. All the girls have been so encouraging of each other, and we all get along with each other really well. I’m really lucky to have been with the girls I’ve been with over the years.”

Kailey took away so much from that experience and was blessed to get to cheer under head coach Brandy Lowe.

“Well, cheering is a year-round thing. We get about two weeks after Nationals until it’s time for tryouts for the next year, so I’ve definitely had to learn how to manage my time and keep pushing when I’m tired, but I’ve learned so much about life, people, and myself the past four years. Mrs. Lowe has been my coach since I was in seventh grade, and I’ll never forget the life lessons she has taught me,” White said. “She’s the greatest. She is constantly thinking of how she can better prepare us for games, competitions, and the real-world stuff. She treats us like her own kids. She taught us how to work past our limits, and how to make the best of tough times. All of her cheerleaders, past and present, know that we can always call her, and she would just sit and talk to us about life. She has taught me so much, from how to handle hateful people, to how to get myself out of my comfort zone and have fun.”

She will remember one very special thing about cheering at Good Hope and will deeply miss doing that next year. She also talked about some of her favorite high school memories.

“I will always remember our community. It’s truly the best feeling in the world to be cheering, and you look up in the stands to see all the people standing and cheering, hugging each other and laughing. I’m really going to miss being able to look in the stands from the sideline or bleachers and just watch the crowd as the game ticks by. It was just incredible to me how many people come together to support Good Hope. When the girls kept advancing through the finals, our community really stepped up, and it just blew my mind at how many people loved our town and our team. Our friends, families, and coaches have invested so much into us, and I have loved being able to watch their effort be turned into priceless memories and experiences. Our community really is incredible, and I’m so thankful to be a part of it. My favorite high school memories would have to be Friday Night Lights, decorating the school for homecoming, being in class with my best friends, the lip sync battle, and dancing in the hall to the songs they play on the speakers.”

Good Hope will always hold a special place in Kailey’s heart, and she had so many role models during her high school days.

“I feel like everyone has a place at Good Hope. There’re so many ways to get involved, and so many amazing teachers who are encouraging, and are more than willing to listen to what you have to say. Our teachers and coaches really do love their students and their jobs, and it makes the environment amazing. I’ll remember and miss the people I’m surrounded with at school. I’m going to miss being around the kids that I’ve grown up with and went through so much with, and being able to put a smile on someone’s face if I knew they were having a rough day. School is a huge platform to be able to be kind to others, and treat them how Jesus would, and I’m always going to remember the times where I was able to do just that.”

She added,

“In school, my role models are my parents. They went to Good Hope together, and a lot of times if I meet someone who’s been in our community for a while, I just tell them who my parents are. It usually leads to them telling me funny stories about my dad when he was young, or how sweet my mom always was. This really inspires me to make sure I’m always giving 100% effort in what I do, so that I can leave the legacy they have left. I want my teachers and classmates to remember me the way they’ve remembered my parents. My role models in cheer are a few of the girls I cheered with when I was an underclassman. They were seniors, and I have looked up to them for years. Not only were they great cheerleaders, but they were some of the sweetest, funniest, and determined people I know. They’re wonderful leaders too.”

Kailey gave some advice to the students that will be starting high school in August, and talked about a life-changing experience that she had in high school that helped her out in a positive way.

“Be involved. I’m really going to miss being a part of all the things I’ve got to do over the years. The sports and clubs I’ve been a part of have given me some life-long best friends. Most of my favorite memories come from a sport or activity, and it’s a great way to make school feel more like home,” she said. “At the beginning of this school year, I was struggling with anxiety, and there were several days where I couldn’t drive myself to school or sit in the classroom, so I would be stuck at home. Being alone made it worse, and it was honestly a really scary time. But my friends took such good care of me at that time. I had teachers Facetime me from class to make sure I was okay if I checked out of school. If I was starting to have an anxiety attack at school, my friends and classmates did so much to help me steady myself.”

She added,

“They gave me snacks, cold rags, cold water, distracted me, prayed for me, and just told me they cared and were going to be there for me. I’ve said it already, but the community is just wonderful. When I was going through that time, I felt so cared for at school, and it made a lot of the anxious feelings go away. Going through that time was definitely not fun, but seeing the way my friends and teachers stepped in made me realize that God really has blessed me with the friends I have prayed to have.”

She was in several clubs in high school and enjoyed every second of that experience. Kailey was surprised when she received a scholarship from the University of North Alabama and she says it’s been one of the biggest blessings of her life.

“Over the years, I’ve been a part of cheer, track, National Honor Society, Leo Club, Diamond Dolls, FFA, and I’m president of our class. It was incredible. I learned how to hold myself accountable and work with others. It’s been so much fun meeting and helping all kinds of people,” she said. “It was a huge surprise and blessing. I thought I was going to go to Wallace, then out of nowhere, I received the scholarship. I hadn’t applied for any at UNA, then boom, I have my college paid for. It was definitely a God thing. At first, I was unsure about it, but after praying and thinking, I decided that if God opened that door for me, I need to walk through it, and live the life He is giving me. Now, I’m so thankful and excited for it.”

Kailey talked about what she wants people to remember about you and gave advice to the cheerleaders that want to be where she’s at right now. She had a lot of younger eyes on her, whether it was in the classroom or on the sideline and became a great role model for so many younger kids.

“I hope people remember me as a kind and genuine person who always tries my best to represent our school well,” she said. “You can’t choose what happened to you, but you can choose how to react. There’s been so many times where I felt too overwhelmed and scared, I wouldn’t be able to keep up, but I kept doing the best I could and chose to have joy over it, instead of focusing on the negative. I also always used to reflect on how far I’d come and how much I admired the cheerleaders when I was little. It reminded me of why I did it and gave me motivation to be the girl I dreamed of being.”

She added,

“It’s so important. The role models I had played such a big role in the activities I chose to do, the type of friends I have, and the classes I took. I think it’s so important to be a leader and role model that is willing to hang out with younger kids and walk with them through life.”

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