At one point, John Adams High School had a cheerleading team but it was eventually brought to an end. Recently, the school saw a reintroduction of a cheer team due to the efforts of students who petitioned for the sport to be brought back. They took their request to John Mazzocchi, the Assistant Principal of the school’s YABC program, then to Principal Daniel Scanlon and soon after, Gwennette Lee, dance enthusiast and English teacher, was chosen for the coaching position.
Lee has been practicing the performing art of dance since she was fifteen years old and has been teaching outside of school for four years. In her own words, dancing is her “second language”.
Regarding the cheer team, Lee began teaching step first, then cheers and dance routines. She stated that her team will be clothed in traditional uniform with leggings under their skirts as “the sport is not a parade of the body, but a parade of cheer.” Lee says that her cheerleaders should be dedicated, confident, and have rhythm.
On April 25, 2018, the team performed a remix of Finesse by Bruno Mars and Cardi B at the Prom Fashion Show because of the song’s catchy tune and funk sound. The cheerleaders really anticipated the excitement of the event and looked forward to showing off their new moves. Varshnie Narine, a junior cheerleader, said that she joined the team because of her passion for dancing; she wanted to be a part of something as exhilarating as cheerleading in John Adams. In order to contribute to the team’s success, Varshnie plans on always showing up to practice, getting her moves down and using her confidence to drive the team forward. While she wishes to improve her stepping, she would like to see a set area for practice since the team has had no determined space and has had to continuously search for somewhere to go in the afternoons.
“Coach Lee is one of the most patient women around who is also amazing at dancing,” Varshnie said. Lee has showed absolute dedication to the team by constantly holding practices and putting every effort into ensuring the cheerleaders completely understand what is required of them.