'It gives everybody a little bit of inspiration to just see that these girls are still bringing spirit and joy and positive reinforcement,' assistant coach Adelia DeFalco says.
At a time when the community needs cheer, the Matanzas High School cheerleaders are stepping up.
With school buildings closed due to COVID-19, coach Melanie Wood is inspiring her girls to teach the community how to cheer on the Pirates through Facebook Live video instructions.
“It’s geared toward little kids,” Wood said. “They go through the motions, teach them the words, and do it with them.”
She added that the school nurse watched one of the videos to learn a cheer, and other family members around the world have participated.
Ally Robinson, senior co-captain, was the first team member to do a Facebook Live video.
“It was a good way to get everyone feeling a little bit more happy,” she said, adding that it also helped her to feel happier after being so isolated. “I love social interaction.”
Adelia DeFalco, who has been Wood’s assistant coach for the past two years, believes the video initiative has helped the community.
“It gives everybody a little bit of inspiration to just see that these girls are still bringing spirit and joy and positive reinforcement,” DeFalco said.
Wood hopes to find a way to keep the senior cheerleaders, including Robinson, engaged with the team.
“During tryouts, the seniors get to come back and teach the material, so it’s kind of a rite of passage,” Wood said. “They’re missing out on that, but who’s to say they can’t do it virtually?”
Robinson said she was happy at first when she learned that school would be closed.
“But then it hit that it came with a cost,” she said. “Grad Bash was canceled, and we could have prom and graduation getting canceled. You work for 12 or 13 years of your life, and [it’s] gone. But it comes with a story to tell in the future. It’s all new beginnings.”