DHS cheerleader captain Brianna Bowyer speaks COVID challenges

One of the best things about being under the lights inside Warhorse Stadium for a Friday night football game is the unifying of Warhorse Nation fans chanting cheers led by the Devine High School cheerleaders.
Whether it is my personal all-time favorite chant—D-D-D-E-V-I-I-I-N-E—or simply the two-bits, four-bits, six-bits a dollar cheer, the cheerleaders control the overall atmosphere by the energy they inject into a crowd.
Football, volleyball, fall tennis, and Cross Country stories float around about how protocols due to COVID has affected their participation, their workout routines, and their game and meet guidelines.
I hope that for all involved by the time we reach the winter and spring sports, many restrictions will be forgotten and done with, but I am not going to hold my breath.
Just as these other sports and activities changed “normal” routines due to COVID, DHS cheerleaders have had to change the way they go about their daily and weekly routines.
As much as we all appreciate every athlete that is playing this season, we must appreciate what cheerleaders have to endure in order to perform at Warhorse and Arabian sporting events.
Cheer squadrons
A HUGE shout-out to this year’s varsity squad which includes Brianna Bowyer-Captain, Cameron English-Mascot Willie, Angelina Rios, Kennedy Duncan, Kendall Marek, Jacquelyn Schreck, and Isellia Gutierrez.
Big props also go to the JV cheerleaders. Kelsey Dishman-Captain, Yancey Parson, Catelyn Flores, Reese Duncan, Kaylee Romano, and Kate Featherly make up the members of that team.
I would be remiss if I did not include the sponsors, Hannah Thompson and Nadia Sulaica, as well. Kailyn Rotramel was a sponsor until she stepped aside to prepare for her new addition to her family expected in February.
Captain Bri
Brianna Bowyer, or ‘Lil Bri’ as many affectionately call her, has been a Devine cheerleader for six years. She first got her feet wet as a DMS Colt and Filly cheerleader, then progressed to the JV squad as a freshman. As Brianna enters the final go-round in her cheerleading endeavor, she does so as “Captain” of the squad.
Multi-talented-Bri is not only the captain of the cheerleading team, she also represents Arabian athletics by running Cross Country where she was last year’s District Champion, plays basketball, and pole vaults in track and field.
As successful as Bri is in athletics, she performs admirably in the classroom as well. She was inducted into National Honor Society at the beginning of last school year.
Outside of representing DHS, Bri is also on a competitive cheer team, and has “always loved playing soccer!” During her free time, Bri trains in combat classes led by her mom. Bri expressed the desire to follow her mom’s example and become a combat instructor once she reaches eighteen years of age.
A well-rounded and well-respected individual among her peers, teachers, and coaches, Bri shares her thoughts on cheerleading through a pandemic.
Brianna’s story
Every year the Devine Cheer Squad makes improvements and changes to help the school spirit grow and thrive throughout the student body, family and friends, and the City of Devine as a whole. However, little did we know, a great change was upon us.
COVID-19 has greatly affected our world and the things we love to do most. As the pandemic escalated, many of our high school activities were delayed, cut short, or terminated altogether.
As for the Devine High School cheerleaders for the 2020-2021 school year, we are making our best effort to keep our athletes, students, staff, and community members up on their feet and excited to participate in anything we present.
It is still impossible to believe that one week last March the candidates where trying out for the following year’s cheer squad, totally clueless about the information we would receive only a week later.
Quickly we all acted, locking ourselves in our homes with no idea of what would come next. As the new captain of the squad and future senior, I was devastated. Stuck with only the thought of not getting a senior year I had never been so upset and confused, not knowing exactly what to do to prepare my squad.
As time went on, we received more and more information about whether or not we would be able to participate or even go to school in person.
We lost many of our summer activities from practices to our main fundraiser, as well as our camp to help us learn new material for the upcoming year. Through it all, however, we have planned for anything that could interfere or change at any moment.
Many changes have occurred this year but different opportunities for some have arisen. The two cheer squads, Junior Varsity and Varsity, will be cheering side by side for most home games. Whereas in the past, both squads have attended and cheered for their level only.
With consideration that neither squad will travel to away games, we are working together to cheer at home varsity football and home volleyball games. In addition, we will cheer on at Cross Country meets and anything else we are allowed to attend.
“Once I found out that Mini Cheer Camp had been cancelled, I was sad because that is the time of the year that I look forward to hanging out with the little kids that look up to us, teach them material, and have so much fun with them,” senior Isellia Gutierrez said. “But whenever I found out we would still get the opportunity to cheer at the football games I was very excited because this is my last year being a Devine cheerleader. Although this year is different, I’m happy we still get to cheer and I know it will be very special.”
This year will definitely be compelling, but all cheerleaders are making our best effort to prepare for upcoming games and activities.
Because of the virus still spreading, as of today we are required to wear masks while we cheer which is very different from years past. However, given the opportunity to continue to represent our school, even with a mask, was a great opportunity that we took without hesitation.
Plus, we have super cute, glittery masks just to match our uniforms!
By Jerel Beaty
Staff Writer