For our seniors out there, you know that this last year of high school is an emotional roller coaster. It’s your year to celebrate accomplishments, get excited about the next chapter and cherish all of those “last firsts” – the last first day of high school, the last first football game of the year, the last first full-out of the season. It all seems to build to that final performance on the mat. But whether it’s a local competition, your state championship or the National High School Cheerleading Championship, it doesn’t end there. Everything you do to prepare for that last performance is also preparing you for life outside of the gym, in the real world.

Cheerleaders are the embodiment of devotion. You make a year-round commitment to your squad through countless hours of practice, Friday night lights, basketball games and weekends dedicated to competition. You understand the value of commitment, and this gives you confidence in making decisions and following through with promises. Seniors, this will help you tremendously when deciding which college to attend and classes to register for.

Cheerleaders are the ultimate jugglers, and seniors are the experts. Between schoolwork, practices, game day, competition, applying to colleges and more, you’ve got time management down to a science. College can be a difficult adjustment for individuals who haven’t had much experience balancing schedules and priorities, but you’ve been practicing for years! When it comes time for midterms, papers, job applications and, of course, a social life, your schedule is going to be mastered from all corners.

Cheerleaders are the ideal employee. Full of spirit, drive, optimism and the ability to work well with others, a group of cheerleaders runs like a well-oiled machine. The collaboration of individual strength, stunt group chemistry and movement on the mat is unrivaled. You appreciate what each person brings to the table and respect differing personalities. You know how to hype each other up, communicate during stunts and work through adversity together. These are the same skills that will make you an excellent candidate for future job and internship opportunities.

Cheerleaders strive for victory on the mat, but their main role is to support the success of someone else. How many other athletes can say that? You lead the crowd on game day to rally your school’s athletic teams and celebrate when they win just like it’s your own! You’ve seen value in sportsmanship, whether you’ve earned the title of champion or finished as a close second. Sportsmanship, humility, gratitude – when practiced, they become part of who you are. There will be many victories in life worth celebrating, as well as outcomes that are disappointing. You have a choice in how the world sees you react, and your coaches have spent years preparing you for these moments.

Seniors, everything you’ve done up to this point and everything you are about to do is readying you to go out strong in your final performance and also preparing you for what’s next. Don’t grab that box of tissues just yet – the BEST is yet to come!