by Sheri Duff
Sarah Gerry is an All-American cheerleader. Actually, she’s a two time All-American. But that’s not all. “Sarah is an all-around skilled cheerleader. She is a great dancer, high jumper, talented tumbler, and a strong base for our flyers,” according to Champlain Valley Union (CVU) head cheerleading coach Michelle Filardi. “Sarah was chosen as an All-American and a Shrine Bowl cheerleader. She’s a wonderful asset to our team,” she noted.
Born on Oct. 18, 1994, Gerry and her family lived briefly in Burlington and Essex before settling in Williston before she began kindergarten. A graduate of the Williston Central School, Gerry has resided in the Lake Champlain Islands for the past six years. Her family includes parents Jennifer and Timothy, stepmom Jessy, stepdad Gunnar, younger sister Laura, age 13, younger stepbrother Kadyn, age nine, four dogs, three cats, and two goldfish.
Her interest in cheerleading was atypical. After a lifetime of playing soccer, Gerry was cut from the CVU soccer team as a sophomore. Crushed at the time, Gerry decided to try something entirely new. “I heard CVU was forming a cheerleading team. Somewhat skeptical, I decided to attend the initial meeting along with other girls who didn’t know anything about cheering either,” she commented. “After the meeting I decided to give cheerleading a shot. I knew if I didn’t like it, I didn’t have to do it.” Of course that was never an issue. The moment that Gerry began cheering she loved it. She has kept it up ever since.
A self-taught gymnast, Gerry is obviously talented. After her first season as a CVU cheerleader she joined the Peak All Star Cheer Team in Rutland. “That was a high skill level competition team that was into big hair and makeup,” she mentioned. “The team practiced once a week and cheered competitively for about five months. Although it was a lot of driving, it was worth it.”
Gerry took advantage of her opportunities and participated in a National Cheerleading Association (NCA) camp at CVU for the past two summers. During camp Gerry tried out to become an All-American. Judged on spirit, tumbling, jumps, and overall cheer ability by NCA cheer instructors, many of whom are college cheerleaders, Gerry was chosen as an All-American both years. Her first selection provided her an opportunity to cheer in New York City’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This year she is raising money to participate in London’s New Year’s Day Parade.
Cheerleading is also the topic of her Grad Challenge Project. “I’m going to create a competition cheer team. I plan to do everything myself. That includes team selection, routine, choreography, and music. As a result I will learn how to coach cheerleading,” she said. “I’m really excited about it.”
She’s also excited about her plans for next year. “I’ve got my heart set on attending the University of New Hampshire,” Gerry said enthusiastically. “First of all, they have an impeccable cheer team that I plan to try out for. Plus they have a dual major of psychology and criminal justice that I would like to pursue. And I love the location, there’s so many things to do,” she offered. Although she hasn’t applied yet, there’s no cause for concern. Gerry is not one to sit idly by; if past experience is any indication of future performance, you can count on her to be passionate about whatever she does and to share her talents with others.