In her AC interview, 17-year-old Lacey — a cheerleader at Plano Senior High School in Plano, TX — emphasized the importance of teamwork. Whether they’re revving up for a performance, feeling nervous before a competition or having a plain ol’ bad day, Lacey and her teammates turn to one another to get through. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the element of teamwork led to Lacey’s love of cheerleading. “It was so much fun cheering at games with the other girls!” she gushes. Thanks to her belief in the power of teamwork, Lacey encourages all her teammates to make a positive difference on the squad, whether or not they have an official leadership title. As Lacey suggested when we chatted, befriending the newest member of the squad, for example, can make a world of difference to a team on the brink. Lacey dished to AC about her goals for the future, her other favorite sport — and about teamwork, of course!
AC: How long have you been cheerleading? When did you realize it was something you loved?
Lacey: I’ve been cheerleading since the fourth grade, but I couldn’t cheer for my school until middle school. That’s when I really loved cheerleading, and I knew I wanted to keep doing it through high school. It was so much fun cheering at games.
AC: What other sports have you done and how did they compare?
Lacey: I did track and tennis, but I thought cheerleading was harder and more of a challenge.
AC: What’s your favorite part of cheerleading?
Lacey: It would have to be basket tosses. I like to be top girl and be up in the air and tumbling. The skills part is definitely my favorite.
AC: If you weren’t cheerleading, what would you be doing in your spare time?
Lacey: I would definitely be doing track. I had to choose between track and cheer when I got to high school because you can’t do both.
AC: Is there a single event that has helped shape who you are today?
Lacey: Honestly, it would be cheerleading because it gave me confidence. I could be having the worst day ever and I go to cheer and it makes me happy again. It just makes me who I am.
AC: What is it about cheerleading that can turn your day around?
Lacey: I think it’s just something that I love to do. When we get to practice, everyone is having a good time, laughing. You can’t really be in an “eh” mood when everyone is smiling and laughing.
AC: What kind of goals do you hope to help your team accomplish this year?
Lacey: I think the getting along part is the main goal because you really have to trust everyone. Everyone is picking you up. I think the trust part is the main goal and is very important.
AC: Is that hard to develop, or does it come pretty naturally?
Lacey: Well, you know, there are always those cliques at first. At my school, we have worked on it a lot and everyone is pretty much friends. So I think at the beginning, it might be a little hard but then you get used to it.
AC: Do you feel nervous when you have a big event coming up? How do you calm yourself down?
Lacey: Yes, yes. I really do, I feel nervous because everyone is watching. We all get in a circle, and we are all freaking out. But we all support each other and give each other pep talks, and it really helps.
AC: Do you have any advice for new squads that are still learning to get along?
Lacey: Yes, I think that you should really try to get to know everyone. It doesn’t matter what you think at first, because if you get to know them, your opinion could change.
AC: What about personal goals?
Lacey: For the future, I want to go to college and continue to cheer and study to be a criminal lawyer at Southern Methodist University.
AC: What makes you interested in the law profession?
Lacey: I took debate in middle school. It started out as just a blow-off class — like, “All right, I guess I’ll take this.” But I ended up really liking it! Ever since then, I’ve wanted to be a lawyer.