Blue is back

GPS Cheer alumni plan on big return

Jacob Ashkar '23, Photographer

The cheer team poses for a photo prior to the first football game of the season against Detroit Renaissance. Photo courtesy of (Ashley Gerbi)

South’s cheer alumni plan to return Oct. 8th, 2021 for a home game against Chippewa Valley High School. With both JV coaches being alumni themselves, they both felt that this would be a great opportunity to keep alumni involved in the GPS cheer program.
Varsity cheer coach, Ashley Gerbi, said there will be an option practice before the game for returning cheerleaders to refresh their skills the night of the alumni game.
“Alumni can arrive on the track anytime between 5:30 – 6:45 p.m.” Gerbi said. “My current JV coaches are both South cheer alumni, so they will be running optional practice to go over cheers with any alumni who show up. Alumni can also warm up any tumbling that they still have as well as form stunt groups and [practice] stunts. The game will begin at 7 and they will cheer for the first half with us.”
Not only is this a great opportunity for the coaches, cheerleader Rosalie Nykanen ’23 — said, but also for the rest of the team to reconnect with past teammates.
“I’m just very excited to reconnect with some old friends who graduated last year,” Nykanen said. “Also, this is an opportunity for my sister to come home and see her old teammates.”
Rosalie isn’t the only excited one, as her sister Elizabeth Nykanen ’21 is also looking forward to coming back home for this event.
“I cheered for all four years of high school and it was always really fun,” Elizabeth said. “The majority of my friends cheered, which made it that much more enjoyable for me.”
With a new tradition being implemented, Gerbi mentioned how they’ve stayed in the cheer alumni program which has allowed them to reach out to lots of past alumni for this celebration.
“I’ve had about 26 people let me know they’ll be attending,” Gerbi said. “We use lots of social media, along with having their emails. Also, my JV coaches graduated the year before I started coaching, so they’ve been able to reach out to alumni that were here even before me.”
Rosalie Nykanen also discussed how this could be an opportunity to meet new people, with alumni attending that weren’t on the team while she was.
“It’ll be interesting to see what past cheerleaders remember about their experience on cheer,” Rosalie said. “I wonder if there’ll be any subtle differences from how the team was run when they were cheerleaders versus the team now.”