the final banquet

Last night my final Stingray banquet will be one I remember for the rest of my life. I spent the last 7 years with the greatest program in the world and I wouldn’t be who I am without it. I’m so thankful everyone who helped me get to where I am today. Over these years, I learned how to be a friend to those who needed me most. I’ve learned to look for others in places I’ve never been before. I’ve learned how to lead a team through a hard part and be someone my teammates can look up too. I’ve worked hard with my videos and grew each time. I met coaches who have impacted my life in a million ways I could never fully describe. I was given crazy nicknames from Brandon and Wendy gave me the middle name Elizabeth. I was taught math lessons from Kyle, Roger and Scott. Deonte taught me to be nice even when I didn’t want too, Caurie taught me about life and also how to wear makeup. Scott East always made me laugh and Casey never made fun of me too much. Thanks for owning the greatest cheerleading gym in the country, we all love you Casey. Tiffany reminded me to keep going even when it hurt so bad. The office staff never failed to greet me when I walked in and a hug when I needed it most. Kyle I will miss you so much, but I am only a phone call away thank you for believing in me. Roger, you have given me endless opportunities and you have encouraged me to be the best I could possibly be. I love you and I am so thankful for you. Robyn you’ve made my big sis feel loved for so many years and I could never thank you enough. Chris smiled and hugged me when I was holding the tears back. Cat gave me hope. Bird lead the gym into pulling it together for the other teams. Paul always made me smile and made sure we kept our gymnastic skills up. Brett made sure our nails and hair were perfect. Ashley kept the gym going and never gave up on anyone. Jackson came when I first made Orange and is always so sweet when I see him. Katie pushes the minis and youth kids and is always someone I have looked up too. King isn’t always around but he pushed me to be an athlete and I loved being around him. I will always remember Aaron running up to me at WSF 2014 with tears in his eyes hugging me. Charlie and Oscar came to rays ready to work and their passion showed to everyone in the gym. Blake is always there no matter what and is working late hours behind the scene. Justin never misses out on doing the best choreography and he always cared about me and my life and how I was outside of cheerleading. Malik’s passion shows through the program and I was lucky to compete with him and see how he led Steel at Champions League in 2014. Lane never passed an opportunity to help with your math homework. Judy never gave up on anyone, ever. I was lucky to coach with Rupert on a half year team and I was always so happy to see him every Tuesday and Thursday. Jordan pushed through for his girls every practice and watching him coach my sister and have her love the sport makes me extremely grateful. Kayla, my forever friend and biggest Orange fan, I love you. Dale was here for a quick second from Australia and I loved getting to be around you. Joy always made the greatest bows. Robyn and G I love you both. Cassie you have raised the greatest children and coached the greatest teams. Taylor was on smoke when I started and he never failed to impress any of us whether he was cheering or coaching. Shakeem you always make everyone feel like a someone. David you’re always in the gym working for everyone I love that. Patrick you make the greatest music. Period. Neil you’re always taking pictures and I appreciate you doing that so we have the memories forever. Heather you’re so incredible. Andy you never gave up on your stunt class girls and they love you. Matt you moved here and created the coed team with Roger and you’re so incredible. Julius thanks for always teaching me how to be better. Ashlyn you are an incredible teammate and an amazing coach. Carly you never give up on your girls and you how me a million reasons to keep going everyday. You are my biggest role model and I hope one day I can be half as great as you are.I have learned so much from Stingrays and I could go on forever. Thank you to my mom and dad for believing in me and showing me that no matter what happens it will be okay and to my sisters thanks for hugging me when I was over the top and when I sat on the baseball field and cried. I won’t forget this chapter. Im so thankful for each part of it.

I hope you did it all right. I hope you took it all in. I hope you still have the chance. I hope you cherish every last moment. I hope in the end you smile and you know that you did it. I hope you make every last moment count and enjoy each time you take the floor because you never know when your last time truly is. I hope you learned more from All-Star Cheerleading than the most simple rules. I hope you also learned cheerleading is more than a sport.
once a ray, always a ray // oc4l

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