February 22, 2024

Eustis High Cheerleaders Soar To Success With Academic Excellence At The Helm

3.6 min read| Published On: February 22nd, 2024|

By Kyle Coppola

Eustis High Cheerleaders Soar To Success With Academic Excellence At The Helm

3.6 min read| Published On: February 22nd, 2024|

When head cheer coach Shidira LeRae took over the Eustis Cheer program, her goal was simple: stress the importance of academic excellence. “We believe our cheerleaders are students first and athletes second,” says LeRae.

The Eustis Cheerleaders are some of the most vocal, loud, and proudest cheer teams you will see. Each member of the team adheres to a strict behavior contract and academic standard. This resulted in an average GPA of 3.5 for the cheer team, one of the highest in the cheer team’s history.

(The Eustis Cheerleaders attending the first Eustis FHSAA Basketball Regional home game in over 9 years. Eustis would win the game 78-76 against Discovery. The cheerleaders were loud and proud the entire time.)

Eustis has 14 seniors on varsity who have been academically accepted into the following Colleges and Universities: Rollins, Stetson University, University of Alabama, Georgia Southern, University of Florida, South Eastern University, Florida State University, North Carolina Central, Bethune Cookman University, Advent Health University, Limestone University, Georgia State, Barry University, Valdosta State, Clark Atlanta University, FAMU, LSU, LSSC, and Florida Memorial.

Wow, that is a terrific list, and it goes to show just how eager these girls were to find success not just as cheer athletes but as students. “The girls were eager to be the best, and we were eager to help them achieve their goals. They’ve ensured this season was a success by being committed to the process. They have excelled at every challenge we’ve thrown at them, like mastering new techniques and skills, maintaining certain academic standards, and being true spirit ambassadors. Our cheerleaders are leaders on and off-campus. They are role models and they don’t take that task lightly,” says coach LeRae.

(Cheerleading is like a sisterhood. Many of these girls will remain lifelong friends after school. Each member of the team push themselves to be scholars first and athletes second.)

They certainly take it seriously. I have attended a few Eustis High games this year. Due to my responsibilities as a broadcast announcer for The Villages, I saw mostly away games. I remember the athletes, but more than anything, the one thing I remember is the thunderous cheers of the Eustis Cheerleaders. If you have not heard them, they will let you all know they are there, and believe me, many heads get turned when they cheer.

And that is exactly what a cheer team should do, “turn heads.” Coach LeRae went on to say, “Receiving compliments from members of the community lets us know we’re doing what we set out to do. We want Eustis to be proud of our cheerleaders and what they represent,” said LeRae.

(No matter what the venue is, rest assured that if you see a sea of Eustis High School cheerleaders, your section will be rocking! This is a fun image from earlier this year when the cheerleaders attended an away game at Leesburg High. What a night that was!)

More than anything, the outpouring of love and support from the community has been incredible. “Leading the charge is our esteemed Principal, Mr. Tracy Clark, whose unwavering support has been instrumental in our journey. From ensuring the girls’ participation in various events such as the Habitat for Humanity groundbreaking to the electrifying Pep Rally featuring Fox 35, Mr. Clark has been the driving force behind our success,” said LeRae.

One of the things that the cheer team also thanks is the school’s athletic directors. “We are incredibly grateful to our former AD, Tom Kupec, who believed in our vision for the program and set us on the path to greatness. Stepping into his shoes, our new Athletic Directors, Michelle Long and Matt Burgess, have gone above and beyond to elevate the status of our cheerleaders, treating them with the respect and recognition they deserve as true athletes. A special shoutout to our Administration over athletics, Mr. Zimmerman and Mr. Brown, for their unwavering support and dedication. Building a thriving athletic program is a collaborative effort, and we are fortunate to have such a dedicated team by our side, nurturing and fostering this exceptional program with us,” said coach LeRae.

Coach LeRae also wanted to take a moment to reflect on all of this. “I am immensely proud of the success of our cheer program. It reflects the hard work, commitment, and spirit of our team, uplifting us to new heights together. Thank you to coach Courtney and everything she has provided as well,” said coach LeRae.

Coach Courtney McNealy’ son Amare Williams holds a few Track & Field records that he broke last year in the 100 and 200-meter races that still stand today. Amare is currently running for Webber International. Coach Courtney and Coach LeRae have been an inspiration. They are delivering the true meaning of what a student-athlete can and should be at Eustis High School. Great work from this group. Cheerleaders are athletes in every sense of the word. From the countless hours of practice to the competitions. I encourage you to come to a cheer competition and see first hand what it’s all about. We love to see the success of this group and all of our cheerleaders across Lake & Sumter County.

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About the Author: Kyle Coppola

Kyle Coppola was born in Newton, Massachusetts and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communications from Curry College in 2016. After traveling to Florida on a family vacation, he decided he could not get enough of the warm weather and made the move from snowy Massachusetts to central Florida 8 years ago.

For the last decade Kyle has gained valuable experience in social media content creation, marketing and sales, writing, video production, sports announcing and even broadcasting for local radio stations, such as FM 102.9 in The Villages and FM 91.5 in Massachusetts. Every year he volunteers at The Villages Charter High School as a play-by-play sports announcer for the football games as well as a public address announcer for the basketball games, including the annual Battle at The Villages Tournament.

Outside the office Kyle is a husband and father to two beautiful girls along with their cat. In his spare time he likes to spend time with his family, travel, play golf and swim. He is also a huge sports junkie and even bigger motorsports fan and loves to attend racing events when he can.

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