Amelia Earhart said, “A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions and the roots spring up and make new trees.” Coach Savannah Kohler and the Adna High School cheer squad are committed to making not only their school a better place but their community as well.
The Adna cheer squad consists of Bailee VanDeHey, Delanie Hill, Mackale Slaby, Madisyn Maynard, Hannah Bilodeau, Carli Latimer, Dalia Gomez, Avery Hagseth, Emily Moerke, Hailee Hellem, Jaydean Hellem and Savanna Ridley.
Coach Kohler has coached the Adna football and basketball cheer squads for three years. She herself cheered for the Pirates when she was in high school, so she knows the importance of being a teenager and needing someone to believe in you. Savannah had an amazing coach that inspired her to be a positive influence. She works diligently to make sure that every athlete leaves a better person than when they began.
“It’s pretty rewarding when someone tells you, ‘thank you coach for believing in me and pushing me to be the best version of myself,’” says Savannah. Her wish is that her squad takes what they learned on the team and uses it in their adult lives to be leaders and make the world better.
The Adna cheer squad is incredibly unique with a diverse group of student-athletes. Mackale is a senior and has been a fan favorite since the first time he did a triple backflip across the football field. He is unbelievably talented and is frequently the first smiling face to greet you as you walk into a football game at Pirate stadium.
This year is the first year of cheering for a few of the athletes. Hailee and Jaydean Hellem are so grateful that the team has been so welcoming to them. “Even though it’s our first year, we are all really like a family,” says Jaydean. Bailee VanDeHey transferred from Napavine High School where she cheered for two years and is embracing the new Pirate traditions. “I love that at practice, we share what our favorite part of the day is,” says Bailee.
Recently, the squad organized a clothing and blanket drive. They made blankets and Mackale rallied for student participation over morning announcements and sorted through the donations.
Currently, the squad is focusing on blessing bags for the cheerleaders to give out when they see someone who needs it. The blessing bags consist of hand warmers, gloves, hat, water, snacks and sanitary items. If you would like to donate, they are in dire need of water bottles, gloves, hand warmers, hats and scarves. Visit the Adna Cheer Facebook page if you would like to donate items or to keep up to date on what the cheerleaders are doing.
Many of the athletes on the squad are seniors, and with all the uncertainty in the world right now Savannah is doing everything she can to keep the morale up for her squad. “We are navigating this season and the obstacles we are up against together, but there is a lot of comfort knowing we are facing it together as a team,” says Savannah. The squad has practiced via Zoom and are doing everything they can to follow the COVID-19 guidelines in hopes that they get to cheer the Pirates on this season. “I have coached this group of seniors for three years now and it will be so sad to see them go,” says Savannah. “But it’s exciting to see what is next for them.”
It is said that cheerleaders are the only humans that can fly. This squad performs like a well-oiled machine and makes it look effortless. The weather in the Pacific Northwest always has a mind of its own. The athletes cheer in the heat, rain and sometimes snow with an upbeat attitude and contagious team spirit.
Savannah’s love for her athletes and community as well as her positive mindset is very refreshing.
We do not know what the rest of this season will look like for Savannah and the Adna cheerleaders. What is for sure is whatever is handed to them, they will make the best out of it and handle it with kindness.