BELLE GLADE – Glades Central is very proud of their fan support and the intensity and passion of their players. They also are very encouraged and proud of the cheerleaders who are a big part in getting the fans motivated in games.
About 80 girls and boys came out to compete for the Raider competitive cheerleading squad this year coached by Renee Johnson. Two boys also are on the squad this year which helps with many of the routines.
Johnson said the team competes in several contests around South Florida like Royal Palm Beach and Palm Beach Central.
“The kids work together and the practices are very intense. The girls have great attitudes and enjoy what they are doing,” she noted.
Johnson said she feels like the cheerleaders have vastly improved in the past few years. She said many fans give her compliments about them and even ask for cheers during games.
“I think the crowd response is much stronger this year,” she noted.
Routines like ‘hey, hey’ and jump on it, have been hits which not only pumps up the crowd but the players as well.
The girls appear at all football games, all boys basketball games and some girls basketball games.
“We have some very talented young ladies that get the game off the right way. I think all of them will be successful in college and their lives and some might even cheer in college,” she noted.
Senior cheerleader captain Ja’mya Felton, is one of the girls that Johnson is proud of.
“It is a lot of fun. Lot of hard work keeping things together, it’s a good job. It can be a little stressful.”
Felton said it is her job to make sure all of the cheerleaders look good and put in the hard work needed to be a success.
“I lead stretches, lead the cheers and dance routines, come up with ideas to help the program and sometimes lead the practices,” she added.
Felton is also a top student in her class and really works hard in the classroom. She said cheering keeps her motivated, helps her to meet new people and to bond with other classmates.
Felton plans to study nursing in college just like her mother, aunt, and grandmother did in Belle Glade.
“It’s just something I’ve grown up around and I enjoy nursing,” she explained.