For nail tech Marcie Morgan of Crawfordsville, Ind., cheerleading has been a lifelong passion. She first became a fan at the age of three. “Because my brothers were 10 and 12 years older than me, my mom would dress me up and I’d go to their games and watch the big girls cheering and try to cheer along,” she explains. She officially started cheering in fifth grade and continued through high school.
Bringing her skills to a new generation, Morgan has coached a high school cheer team for the past five years, and two years ago started teaching younger children aged four to nine as well. Working with so many young people can be a challenge. “It’s hard to catch all 19 teenage girls having a good day!” says Morgan. “As for the tiny team level, sometimes it’s like herding cats. Just getting them all on the same page some days is a struggle.”
Despite the challenges, Morgan finds the work rewarding. “My favorite thing is touching these ladies’ lives,” she says. “What I do is more than teaching them how to jump and shake their pompoms. I teach them how to be a positive person in society, to give back to their community, and to work hard.”
Morgan’s goal is to overcome the stereotypes about cheerleaders. She has worked hard to make sure her cheerleading groups are positive and encourage kindness. “You can be the most flexible, talented gymnast, the best at stunting in pyramids, and have the highest jumps, but all of that is nothing if you’re not kind to others,” she explains. “To be the best cheerleader you can’t be a mean girl.”