Athlete: Paola Kangni-Soupke, Class of 2021
Team: Varsity Cheer
“I have been on the cheer team for three years, since my sophomore year,” Kangni-Soukpe said. “I started cheer because I have always been interested in it, and honestly, I just wanted to meet new people.”
While Paola has only been cheerleading for three years, for most of that time, she has been on the varsity cheer team, leading the Patriot Powerhouse during sporting events and prep rallies, and giving off the needed energy to win.
“At some of the games, the energy goes over the top and I get so invested at the games. When there’s actually a student section that cheers, then the games are so much fun. Everyone gets so invested and it shows school spirit.”
However, getting to be at the varsity level, and so quickly, came with its challenges for the senior.
“A struggle that I had to overcome was trying to point my toes when I jump,” Paola said. “I would practice on pointing my toes when we would stretch, and now they’ve improved a lot since my sophomore year, but I’d say the hardest thing would be the amount of reps we do. The ‘lucky’ number is 25, so it’s 25 reps of almost everything, which is a lot.”
But Paola has been able to push through due to her strive for excellence along with the help of her teammates.
She said, “I keep myself motivated by wanting to do the best that I can when I perform or even just practice. Also, the laughs that we have during practice remind me that we care for each other during a tough practice.”
“My favorite thing about the team would be how we all get along,” Kangni-Soupke said. “We’ve really gotten out of having a lot of cliques, so we’re just one big happy family.”
Since Kangni-Soupke is a senior, this means that this is her last year on the cheer team, making this cheer season an extra special one.
“My favorite memory would probably be the Millard West Showcase,” said Paola. “We all had so much energy, so it made it really fun.”
Favorite Element of Cheer: Tumbling
Paola said her favorite thing about cheer would probably be “the amount of times we scare [coach] Shari [Burrus].” “It’s so funny when she jumps.”
The joy and happiness that Kangni-Soupe gets as a cheerleader is the reason she is a cheerleader.
“I honestly love being apart of this team so much. We have so many funny moments and laughs,” Paola said. “I will never forget my time on the team.”