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School Board Eyes Cheerleader Changes

An item of discussion at Monday night’s regularly scheduled Van Alstyne ISD Board of Trustees meeting could have a significant impact on high school cheerleaders in the future.

Cheerleading sponsor Amy Massey suggested changes to the cheerleading handbook regarding eligibility requirements for both varsity and junior varsity cheerleaders. Currently, only juniors and seniors are eligible for varsity while only freshmen and sophomores are eligible for junior varsity. Massey is proposing changes allowing juniors to be eligible for junior varsity and sophomores to be eligible for varsity. The benefits, according to Massey and VAHS Principal Dr. David Brown, would be an overall improvement in depth of talent at the varsity level.

“Just the depth of the squad, to increase that and to increase numbers, as well,” said Massey by way of explanation. “There could be more stunt groups and more representation on the field.”

Board President Kurt Himmelreich stated that the squads were formed that way in the past, with sophomores eligible for varsity. Trustee Steve Roddy said that the best kids in football and baseball, among other sports, are on varsity, and the same should apply to cheerleading and that he supported Massey’s proposal.

Further discussion ensued regarding the handbook itself with trustee Randall Morgan wondering if they weren’t trying to fix something that wasn’t broken. Superintendent Dr. John Spies added that this would reduce injuries as it would allow someone who might not be ready for varsity to gain experience on the junior varsity level.

Another proposed change would be regarding eligibility requirements for cheerleading captains, though this would not have the same impact as the proposed class-eligibility requirements. In the past, captains were required to have been on varsity the year before. The proposed change would mean that it would be at the discretion of the cheer sponsor.

Since this was an information item no action was called for or taken. To make sure cheerleader parents are up to speed a meeting for them will be held before try-outs in late February.

The night, however, got started off on a different note as the SOS Club was recognized. SOS (an acronym for Students Offering Support) sponsors Jana Tinsley and Leigh Evans introduced members Maci Ramer (secretary), Rebecca Bouley (president), Shae Cather, Natalia Botello and MaKayla McFarland. The recognition was well-deserved as the meeting room at the administration building annex had a freshened-up feel thanks to newly-painted walls courtesy of the SOS Club.

Spies presented his Superintendent’s Report, alerting trustees to the fact that enrollment is better than at any point in his two-years with the district. While flu season has inevitably caused some fluctuation in attendance, Spies stated that school custodians have been working diligently to “disinfect everything.”

One of only two action items on the agenda for the night (the other being approval of the consent agenda) was an item authorizing the superintendent to automatically make district purchases up to $25,000. Spies said it would make day-to-day operations easier and the board agreed, approving the motion unanimously.

BOARD NOTES: In Premier Moments recognition Trustee Jim Atchison highlighted Madison Barton and Hailey O’Hanlon for being named to the ATSSB All-State Band…Spies recognized the boys varsity basketball team with their 18-2 record and pointed out that the only team to have beaten Van Alstyne this year has been Sunnyvale…The Van Alstyne Education Foundation gala will be held March 1…The board approved Spies’ superintendent job evaluation and extended his contract for another three years.

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