Cheer Team Earns National Award
April 24, 2020
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti
Recognized for their on-going commitment to community service, the Spirit Programs at Sam Houston State University received the National Dance Alliance’s NCA/NDA Go Be Great Award. The organization established the award as a way to honor coaches, teams or programs that have gone “above and beyond” to make the world a better place outside the world of dance.
Sarah Garcia, in SHSU Student Activities, serves as Spirit Programs coach and says helping others is something the group places in high priority.
“We strive to not only be strong athletes, but to be great people in society too,” Garcia said. “We certainly appreciate the NCA/NDA for the recognition. It is an honor to win this award.”
According to Garcia, 88 students within Orange Pride Dance Team, Coed Team, All Girls Team, and Mascot Team each completed 75 hours of community service this year.
“For all Sam Houston Spirit Programs, that is a combined total of 6,600 community service hours - more than any other organization on campus,” Garcia said.
Students were recognized for contributing to the community in a number of ways. In addition to working with local youth at dance studios and cheer gyms, the students hosted a Bearkat Kids camp, donated goods and time to the SHSU Food Pantry, and volunteered at a H.E.B food drive, Good Shepherd Mission and Rita B. Huff animal shelter.
Senior coed cheerleader, Amber Whitworth, sees the university motto - “A measure of a Life is its Service” - as guiding inspiration for everyone. She credits the campus food pantry as a great example of upholding that motto.
“The SHSU Food Pantry is an amazing organization that helps students struggling with food insecurity. We had the opportunity to donate, label, organize inventory, and even distribute food to peers in need,” Whitworth said. “It is such a great way to help out our fellow Bearkats. We are thankful to have been a part of such an incredible organization.”
Whether they are on the football field, in a town parade or helping in a local food pantry, working together to make a difference with Bearkat cheer in the community is what SHSU Spirit Programs are all about.
“These student athletes work hard in and out of practice,” Garcia said. “They are very appreciative of the support they continue to receive from the university and Huntsville community, and are showing us all why our country needs more spirit.”
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