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Young cheerleaders learn Warrior spirit

By Camille Doty
Aug. 3, 2012 at 3:03 a.m.
Updated Aug. 4, 2012 at 3:04 a.m.

Leah Gonzales, a camp participant, forms a strong bond with West High School cheerleader Kellsey Brandt at the Li'l Warriors Workshop at West High School.

Spirit Stick winners

•  Randi Hall

•  Audrey Hanes

•  Tori Patek*

•  Paige Law

•  Kaeli White

•  Kelci Grahmann*

•  Leah Gonzales

•  Landry Payne

•  Rianna Arguellez*

•  Kassidy Taylor

•  Joiri Swearengen

• Kamryn Barnett*

*indicates a big spirit stick winner

The colors of red and black flooded the Victoria West High School cafeteria.

The battle cries from little warriors drowned out any room for naysayers doubting their school spirit.

First-timer Kaeli White made a big wave during her first cheer camp on Tropical Drive.

"I pretty much like everything about it," said the 7-year-old Schorlemmer Elementary student.

Kaeli was one of 48 girls to participate in the Li'l Warriors Cheer Workshop, which lasted three days at the high school.

Girls between the ages of 4 and 14 years old were able to learn dances, cheers, chants and stunts from the varsity and junior varsity squad. The camp has been in existence since the school opened.

Each child received a certificate of participation and some of the best performers earned a spirit stick. The overall winners in each group will be invited to perform at a football game.

On Friday, these budding cheerleaders gave it their all by showing their loved ones what they learned.

The cheer, "Let's scream it, let's shout it, W-H-S," set the tone for each group's performance.

Proud parents and siblings peered through smartphones and tablets to catch the girls in action. Assistant Cheer Coach Veronica Fontanella said the classes benefit participants, as well as members of the squad.

"It gives the girls experience on what it's like to be a coach," she said. "Plus, they get experience learning their own cheers."

Cheerleader Brittany Newyear said working with the younger students has taught her responsibility.

The 16-year-old junior also said that it's been a treat.

"It's fun seeing the little kids trying to learn new things," she said.

Chrysta Guerrero, a 17-year-old senior cheerleader, said she likes seeing the girls come out of their shells.

Guerrero said she takes her co-captain role seriously and wants to set a good example for her peers.

Having the extra support from the workshop girls is an added bonus for Chrysta.

"We'll have some extra help on the sidelines," she said.

Kamryn Barnett, a 10-year-old Guadalupe Elementary student, had such a good time that she wants to become a cheerleader someday.

When asked what she liked about the camp, she responded, "Everything," as she smiled from ear-to-ear.

If Kamryn had to pick her favorite aspect, "I've made so many new friends," she said.

She said she hopes to attend next year.

Tori Patek came knee-high to the varsity squad, but this 4-year-old showed a lot of spunk.

She waved her hands, moved her hips and smiled wide during the entire performance.

Tori loves to dance and went home to show her family what she learned. The future is still up in the air for this energetic toddler.

"I will be back, I think so," she said.

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