Interview by Lauren Michener | Submitted by Morgan Burleigh Nomination & Photography by Cynthia Schoettker Photography Kentucky
The Nomination: Morgan Burleigh is a Varsity cheerleader for her high school's football and basketball teams and is a member of the coed competition squad. She has an amazing ability to balance her busy cheer schedule with achieving the highest academic honors. Morgan believes no dream is too big to achieve!
Do you prefer competition cheer or cheering at games? I prefer competitive cheer. The crowd is much more engaged, and the anticipation of competing is exciting and intense. It's so much fun performing to music and showing off our elite stunting and tumbling abilities. Being on the mat for those 2 minutes and 30 seconds is an indescribable feeling. My coed squad just qualified for Nationals this February so to be able to represent my high school and perform on the nation’s most prestigious cheer stage is a dream come true.
With cheerleading mostly all-year round, how do you keep your grades up? The trick to keeping my grades up is time management. I am super organized and that has become a major asset to me as I balance my busy cheer schedule with taking multiple advanced and college level classes. I try to get as much homework and studying completed during free time at school, but if not, I do it as soon as I get home from school because most days, I have practice for 2-3 hours in the evening.
How does cheer interfere with your daily/social life? Cheer impacts my social life greatly. Between daily practices and cheering games, I am not home much, and I don’t have much free time during the week. I usually have one weekend night free to hang out with friends. However, I am blessed to have amazing friends who come to watch and support me at competitions.
Do you want to purse cheerleading after high-school? While I would absolutely love to cheer in college, I want to focus on a career and academic success in college.
What are some things that years of cheering had taught you? Cheerleading has taught me so many great things, but mostly dedication, hard work, competitiveness, teamwork, and sportsmanship. I use these qualities not only at cheer, but also in my everyday life. I have learned that when things get difficult, you can’t give up. You have to persevere and put in the extra work and effort. I’ve learned that things work best when teams pull together, and that praising others for their work and encouraging them is much more beneficial than criticizing others. The respect our squad has for each other allows our team to be successful in reaching our goals. Overall, the life skills I’ve learned from cheerleading define who I am and play a major role in my life every day.