Growing as a Cheer Captain: Junior Clare Canavan Becomes a Leader for HHS Cheer Team

Caroline Glus, Reporter

Standing along the sideline of Hershey High Schools (HHS) football team are all the cheerleaders cheering, dancing, and chanting to encourage the team, and getting the fans excited for the game.

Cheering through rain or shine is junior HHS cheer captain Clare Canavan. Canavan has had many experiences in her high school career so far, including those of being the cheer captain the past two years.

Canavan has been involved in the program since her days at HYFA (Hershey Youth Football Association). Canavan explains that getting involved at a young age helped her formulate some of the greatest friendships she has today, including her fellow co-captain, Kate Clark.

“Cheerleading has given me some of my greatest friends. It wasn’t always about the cheering for me, it was about getting to do something fun with all of my friends,” said Canavan.

Clark shares how Canavan has made an impact on her and the team environment.

“Clare is a great leader and is always so enthusiastic,’’ said Clark.

Being involved in high school sports is a very good way to get involved and form leadership skills. Canavan became the basketball cheer captain for her sophomore and junior year, and found that the program has given her the opportunity to form leadership skills that she attributes to her personality today.

“I definitely have become more outgoing and willing to talk to people I don’t know, or I’m not really close friends with,” said Canavan.

According to Canavan, teamwork is a huge part of the success of their team. Being a captain, Canavan shares how being a captain has lead to her encouraging her teammates through games and practices. Being a captain means making an effort to formulate a bond with every member of the team, even the younger ones those who may be much younger than you.

Freshman Lauren Cribbs, who cheered in the fall and winter seasons alongside Canavan, shares how she impacted her first varsity season.

“Clare always made an effort to make sure I was excelling at our dances and cheers. She always had such a positive attitude that made practices and games more fun,” said Cribbs.

Along with her personal skills, Canavan also explains how her organization and timeliness has helped her outside of the school environment. Being involved around the community is a great way to give back, and Canavan attributes her willingness to give back to her years of helping her teammates and friends succeed.

“I have also been involved in many other clubs and volunteer organizations” said Canavan, “I realized that all my years of being outgoing and willing to talk to new people or girls on the cheer team finally paid off because I was prepared on how to deal with certain situations.’’

Being a captain also can include some not-so-fun responsibilities, including dealing with team conflict. On a team, drama and conflict is inevitable; ensuring that everyone gets along and respects each other is a major role in team success.

“Not everyone is going to get along all the time, I just try to make sure any conflicts we have are resolved as quickly and easily as possible,” said Canavan.

The way a captain deals with conflict among a team sets an example for everyone else on the team. Canavan also explained how in order to perform to the best of their abilities they need to trust each other. Dealing with conflict in this way ensures everyone is doing their best. Supporting your teammates through good times and bad, wins and losses, is what makes captains the leaders and members of the team that everyone looks up in times of need.

“Clare has been such a good and supportive captain to me, being a freshman I was worried about coming into a new team,”  said Cribbs, “but she always made sure I was involved in all team activities, and no matter what we were doing she always made sure we were having fun because at the end of the day that is really all that matters.”

Clare Canavan on the sideline of the HHS football team at their annual “be kind” suicide prevention game along with her co-captain Kate Clark earlier this fall. (Caroline Glus/Broadcaster)