Faith Academy second-grader Illiana Gonzalez threw her hands into a high-V as she jumped into a toe touch.

“The arts and crafts was my favorite part,” said Illiana, 7. “I painted mine with different colors.”

Illiana was one of about 25 prekindergarten through sixth-grade students who cheered and danced Saturday at the Faith Academy Little Cougar Cheer Camp at the gymnasium at the Mockingbird campus.

Faith Academy cheer camp

Future cheerleaders, center-left, Paisley Torres, 6, and Rylee Beard, 6, do their best to copy their instructors’ cheer routine at the Faith Academy Little Cougar Cheer Camp.

Homeschool student Brooke Petrash, who came to the camp for some summer fun, said her favorite part of the camp was the stretches and workout.

“I made new friends,” said Brooke, 7.

Stephanie Petrash-Ross, the cheer coach, shouted “hey, girl, hey!” into the microphone followed by the voices of the campers as they raised their spirits for a day of cheer.

The camp is cheerleader-led to teach her squad leadership and responsibility, Petrash-Ross said. In addition, the cheerleaders serve as role models.

Faith Academy cheer camp

Instructor Allee Johnston, 14, holds Kailyn Baker, 3, in her lap during snack time at the Faith Academy Little Cougar Cheer Camp.

The cheer camp was part of the kickoff to the school’s football season after the program was created last year, said Petrash-Ross.

Spirit is on the rise at the school as the cheer team has grown, she said about decorating the school lockers and having pep rallies and homecoming.

Petrash-Ross plans to have another cheer camp in the spring to focus on basketball cheers and chants, she said. People who are interested can email Petrash-Ross at or visit Faith Academy’s Facebook page.

The cheer team has nine cheerleaders and one mascot. Faith Academy freshman Carissa Barron is the team captain.

More campers participated at the camp this year than last year, she said.

“It’s so much fun,” said Carissa, 14, about the team leading the camp.

Although it’s her first time being team captain, Carissa said she is excited for what another football season will bring.

“This year, we’re helping everyone get hyped up,” she said.

Gabriella Canales reports on education for the Victoria Advocate. She may be reached at or 361-580-6578.

Education reporter

Gabriella Canales graduated from the University of Houston-Victoria with a B.A. in English in 2016. Feel free to contact her with ideas because she is eager to tell stories.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Transparency. Please use your full name.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us.We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.
Don’t be a troll. Don’t post inflammatory or off-topic messages.

Thank you for Reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.

To subscribe, click here. Already a subscriber? Click here.