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The Cub

The news site of Ludlow High School

The Cub

The news site of Ludlow High School

The Cub

LHS Cheerleaders Seek Equal Recognition and Resources in Athletic Program


In a high school environment, it is expected that all sports are treated equally and get recognition for their achievements. However, cheerleading in schools has not always experienced this. As an LHS student and cheerleader, I can confirm that. This past year, we have brought this to the administration’s attention and are hoping to receive the necessities we need for our program.

Being a part of the Ludlow High School varsity and competition cheerleading team for all four years in high school, and becoming one of the captains in the recent season, it has become challenging not to notice or understand the differences between cheerleading and other sports.

The vast amount of differences that we experience is undeniable: transportation to and from games, the recognition we receive, practice locations, and more. With only the cheerleaders noticing this, I wanted to get the opinions of staff and other peers on this situation.

LHS cheer coach Adelei Bernard said, short and sweet, “I am happy to see the program growing and that it is getting more attention. I can’t wait to see what the future looks like for cheer at LHS.” Bernard plans to look on the bright side of things and will continue to put her heart into coaching the cheer team no matter what.

When asking Delores Calvao, a player on the varsity volleyball team, if she has noticed any difference between cheer and other sports, she replied, “Yes, I have noticed a difference. I don’t really hear about your competitions or successes compared to others.” Expanding on that, she said, “But I heard you guys had a fundraiser to buy your own uniforms, whereas as a volleyball player, we are given uniforms.”

On the topic of not being heard in the athletic community at LHS, I asked Maddy Marques, one of the captains on the cheer team, a similar question. She replied, “I would say the cheerleaders’ wins and improvements don’t nearly get as much attention or support as other sports. Every other sport gets talked about on the Lions Roar, the Ludlow athletics page, and Instagram, but the cheer team is only recognized when asked to be.”

During the 2023 season, the cheer team entered back into competitions after having a setback post-COVID-19. With cheer competitions having a large variety of locations, it has been quite difficult to get transportation to and from competitions.

During our fall season, one of our first competitions was at Shepherd Hill Regional High School, about an hour away from Ludlow High School. Cheerleaders were scrambling for rides due to the fact that we are not provided transportation, unlike every other sport. This isn’t solely for competitions either; when cheering for the football and basketball teams, we are not provided transportation for the away games either.

I brought this to the attention of Timothy Brillo, the athletic director at LHS, and asked him if this coming year cheerleaders would be provided transportation. Brillo’s response was, “Currently, transportation to cheer competitions is not included in the budget.” I continued to ask him if there would be a change for away games, since the teams we cheer for are provided transportation, and he said, “Traveling with the football team is a space issue as it is difficult at times to fit our whole team and equipment on the bus.”

While understanding that fitting lots of equipment, students, and coaches on one bus can become difficult, it continues to confuse cheerleaders why other sports have transportation in the budget, but we unfortunately do not.

This isn’t the only difference that has stood out to us. When signing up for the cheerleading season on FamilyID, it’s hard not to notice that cheerleading is labeled as a “club” unlike the other sports. I asked Brillo if there would be a change to this in the upcoming season and he said, “It will still be listed as a club even though cheer is included in the athletic realm.”

Cheerleaders also have to pay more than other sports. Cheerleaders have to pay $190, while others only have to pay $100-$180. When informing classmates of this, Delores Calvao responded with, “I think that is completely unfair; you shouldn’t have to pay more compared to other sports.”

With all these differences that stick out during our seasons, it makes our team feel somewhat unwelcomed at times during the season. Maddy Marques says, “I would definitely say it’s harder as a cheerleader to fit into the athletic community at Ludlow. Our achievements are unrecognized, we pay more than all the other sports, and we don’t get any transportation to games. There are many ways us as cheerleaders feel as though we aren’t seen as athletes at LHS.”

When entering into the LHS gym, also known as the Lions Den, the vast amount of banners hanging from the walls and the ceiling can’t help but make athletes proud of their achievements from the recent years. However, this year, after taking home a Western Mass win for LHS, the cheerleaders were waiting for 2023 to be placed upon our Western Mass banner.

After waiting for months, it was shocking to see other sports receive the recognition for their successful seasons, but when looking at our banner, it still has not been updated. Maddy Marques brought this to my attention once again when she said, “The cheerleaders were Western Mass winners, and our year was never hung, even though all the other sports’ banners were updated.”

Once again, it is just another thing that makes the cheerleaders feel unwelcome in the athletic community at LHS. However, I have hope that the administration will make changes for the program to better it in ways that it hasn’t been in the past. All in all, cheerleading deserves more than we receive, and Ludlow High School needs to become more attentive to their cheerleading team.

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Comments (10)

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  • L

    Lisa MarquesJun 10, 2024 at 8:45 am

    Mary, well written article. The cheer team should be recognized just like all the other sports teams.

  • B

    BrianJun 9, 2024 at 11:40 am

    Well written and informative. Great arguments.

  • J

    jayla clarkJun 8, 2024 at 6:51 pm

    yes mary !! 🙌🏻

  • K

    Kathleen VivierJun 7, 2024 at 7:46 pm

    Unfortunately, this has always been the way the cheerleaders at LHS have been treated. My kids cheered 10+ years ago. We fought hard to make changes back then to no avail. No one realizes how much effort and hard work those kids And coaches put in and it is really Disheartening. I hope things change for you. Keep fighting!!!

  • S

    Sarah BowlerJun 7, 2024 at 7:12 pm

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Do cheerleaders have to pay for two separate seasons or once per school year? I know cheer goes all year unlike other seasonal sports. The transportation is something I will be asking about. I honestly don’t remember how we got to games when I cheered, but that was a long time ago.

  • M

    miranda woznyJun 6, 2024 at 12:44 pm

    this should be talked about more

  • L

    leahJun 6, 2024 at 12:39 pm


  • A

    Alexis RodriguezJun 6, 2024 at 11:55 am


  • G

    Giani PerezJun 6, 2024 at 11:55 am

    Someone had to say it🤷🏽‍♀️

  • M

    Maddy MarquesJun 6, 2024 at 11:07 am

    Great Job Mary