Carly Willis - Florida Interview by Zoe D'Angelo Nomination and Photography by Kelley Bell Photography Issue 26 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
The Nomination: Carly Willis has been a cheerleader for thirteen years. This is her sixth year of cheering for Jay High School. She is a three time All American (8th grade, 9th grade, and currently this year). She has been a member of cheer leadership for two years. Carly was asked to join the UCA staff in June 2019 (one of the few people chosen out of 800 campers). Not only does she cheer, she has been coaching for three years for the Jay junior league football cheerleaders.
How did you get involved with cheerleading? Tell us about your endeavors. I started cheering when I was around 4 years for my town’s basketball league. Once I started cheering for football when I was 8, I fell in love with cheer. I felt like I belonged on the sidelines cheering, not playing a sport that involved a ball. I was able to be true to myself and express my personality more than normal, even though I was shy.
I have participated in parades with making All-American. I marched down Main Street in Walt Disney World when I made All-American in the 8th grade. I also was offered to march in Disney World for All-American again when I was in 9th grade and I was offered to march in London, England for the New Year’s Day Parade that is taking place on January 1, 2020. Unfortunately, I will not be able to participate in that parade due to competition cheer.
I am currently not a part of UCA staff, but I will try out in the spring. It was a huge honor getting asked to tryout when there was over 800 girls present. It has been a dream of mine since I found out about UCA when I was in the third grade.
Image by Heather Willis
Coaching the Jay Junior League Football cheerleaders is absolutely an honor. I have known most of the girls that I coach since they were little from helping them in my school’s mini cheer camp since they were in pre-k or kindergarten. I love being able to watch the girls I coach grow up and improve over the season.
If I never started cheerleading, I would have taken in dance or volleyball. I used to dance until I was 9, but I quit for cheer. Dance would allow me to still express my personality like cheer does, but in a different way. I would do volleyball because I have always enjoyed watching it and playing games with friends for fun. It is totally different than cheer, but I think I would've enjoyed it if I ended up playing it.
Advice I would give to someone who wants to be where I am at today is to do not get involved with drama and stay away from bad influences. If you get involved with drama or with bad influences, then people will think of you as a drama starter or a bad influence, even if you are a good, well-manner teenager.
More about Carly: I could see myself finishing up my senior year at college (hopefully Troy University) getting my major in elementary education and a minor in business.
My hidden talent is that I can pop both of my hips out of place and turn my left foot backwards.
I keep my busy life organized by keeping a planner and making notes to myself on what I need to do. I also try to work ahead on schoolwork to stay on track.
Carly will be featured in Issue 26 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!