By Aaron Keebaugh
During a ceremony in the Council Chamber Monday night, Mayor Dan Rizzo and Council President Ira Novoselsky presented certificates of commendation to the Pop Warner cheerleaders and their coaches in celebration of their championship season.
The Pop Warner cheerleaders ventured to the Walt Disney World Resort in early December to compete in the National Championships held at the ESPN Wild World of Sports Complex. The C squad won its second consecutive national title; the D squad finished second; and the A squad finished third.
“This is a very proud day for all of you here,” said Mayor Rizzo. “It’s really a celebration for the entire city. We want to tell you how proud we are of your accomplishments. . .”
The cheerleaders, coaches, parents, and family members filled the room to capacity. Unable to get seats, many stood along the asides and back of the room. Others caught a glimpse of the ceremony from just outside the doorway as girls from each squad were presented with an individual certificate.
Before the ceremony began, Senator Anthony Petruccelli told the crowd, “My sisters were cheerleaders at Pop Warner. I played at Pop Warner. I know the commitment from parents and coaches. Your parents and coaches really make it go.”
The girls balance a heavy practice schedule with their other weekly activities. Rizzo noted that they practice four nights a week when the season begins August 1. After school starts, the girls practice three nights a week. “It’s so impressive for a group of kids like you to show this kind of dedication,” he said.
Pop Warner President Paul Belschner said that cheerleading squads operate “like a sisterhood,” where the girls encourage and calm one another before nerve-racking competitions like the National Championships take place. He thanked the city and citizens of Revere for the financial support to send the squads to Florida for the championships. “When these girls went door-to-door, the city really stood up,” he said.
Belschner added, “I think next year we may have to do this someplace else.”
“We’re looking forward to more ceremonies like this,” Rizzo concluded.
City councillors took note of the cheerleaders’ achievements as well. In the meeting that followed, they passed Novoselsky’s motion to install signs at every highway entrance to the city that read, “Home of the 2012 Pop Warner C Cheerleading National Champions.”