Kindred spirit

Paisley Regester, features writer


For four KHS cheerleaders, halftime at football games is not a time for rest. Instead, they put down their poms, race to pick up their instruments from the sidelines, and join the band as they begin to march down the field. Still outfitted in their cheer uniforms, they perform for the crowd before returning back to their position at the front of the stands until the end of the game. Only then are they able to go home and rest before attending daily practices the following week. Despite all of this hecticness, these four KHS students are dedicated members of both cheerleading and band.  


Lexy Custer, junior

Cheer involvement: two years

Band involvement: seven years

Lexy Custer said she was nervous when she first started playing the trumpet, as it was considered to be more of a “boy’s instrument.” Custer, undeterred, faced her fears and continued to pursue her passion for playing trumpet. This same determination was present when she chose to try out for cheerleading during her sophomore year. According to Custer, the challenges pay off and she appreciates how both band and cheerleading allow her to show school spirit and support her school.

“In band, you’re creating a way for the fans to be entertained during that space of time, but then as a cheerleader, I’m also keeping the crowd spirited,” Custer said. “I learned how to always be in that state of mind of ‘I have this role to play’ and ‘this is what I need to do.’”

Custer said that she doesn’t let the stereotypes that are typically associated with band members and cheerleaders throughout pop culture affect her negatively. However, she said that she may not see a gap between the lives and personalities of band and cheer members because she is involved in both.

“I feel like band gets stereotyped as all these nerdy, dorky people that need a fine arts credit, and that’s not it. It’s usually people who love the people in band, who love what they’re doing, and get to be a part of something where they can express themselves,” Custer said. “ I feel like in cheer, a lot of people join because they want to be a part of that legacy that cheerleaders leave, especially at Kirkwood.”

According to Custer, many aspects of cheerleading and band overlap. She utilizes the upper body strength and coordination in band to assist her cheer routines. She encourages anyone who is passionate about more than one school activity to pursue both.

“This is the most cheerleaders that we’ve had in a while on the field [with band], but we all get to stand out and show people that it’s not impossible to be a part of two different things at the same time, on totally opposite spectrums,” Custer said.


Samaya Trawick, junior

Cheer involvement: three years

Band involvement: seven years

According to Samaya Trawick, managing the schedules of both cheer and band can be hard, sometimes forcing her to choose between events for each. However, some of her favorite experiences as both a band and cheer member have resulted from those hectic moments of overlap.

“Over the summer, we were playing the national anthem for the Cardinal’s game, and I had a pep rally practice that I had to go to,” Trawick said. “I remember grabbing my instrument and running out in the rain to Chopin to find a ride to the Cardinal’s game from the high school. It was really crazy, but we made it.”

Trawick said she appreciates the encouraging atmosphere in cheer and in band. Both groups have helped with her own development on and off the field.

“I really like getting to know people and supporting the sports teams,” Trawick said. “In cheer, I’ve learned to be more open and confident, and I’ve used that in band as well.”


Cate Peters, sophomore

Cheer involvement: two years

Band involvement: seven years

During football games, you can find Cate Peters in one of two places: either behind the frame of her bass drum or behind the red glitter of her poms. According to Peters, playing the bass drum makes her stand out and disproves any stereotypes about how a cheerleader should look and act.

“I honestly think that people are kind of shocked when they see me in my cheer uniform with my drum on,” Peters said. “I feel cool when I’m wearing my drum.”

Being in both band and cheer doesn’t come without its difficulties, she said. In addition to daily band classes, Peters also attends two cheer practices a week where she pushes herself both mentally and physically.

“I think the hardest part [of cheer] is being able to remember things, and injuries too,” said Peters. “[The hardest part of band] is remembering what to do when you’re on the field and having to march all the way around it.”

According to Peters, the positives of being involved in both activities outweigh the negatives. Despite their challenges, she decided that she was not willing to give up one of her passions.

“I know of people who have quit cheer because they wanted to be in band or vice versa,” she said. “I think that if you can manage your time shouldn’t have to pick.”


Deja Tart, senior

Cheer involvement: three years

Band involvement: seven years

A lot is at stake for cheerleaders, according to Deja Tart. These risks, however, help improve the teamwork and problem-solving skills needed for both band and cheer.

“In cheer, there are things we have to do that are very dangerous and girls can get hurt very easily,” Tart said. “We all come together and put our minds to certain things and work really hard on certain things, and that applies to band. There are certain things we need to do and march for, where if we aren’t all on the same page, it won’t work.”

Tart has not stopped pursuing both band and cheer, despite the time commitment and risk of injury present in both. According to Tart, even when she’s tired during games, she urges herself to continue because she knows that every single person involved needs to work together in order to create a successful show.

“I felt like I could push myself to do both [cheer and band] because I wanted to do the two things that I loved,” she said. “If you are in an activity and you also want to be in band, try to talk it out and figure out if you can do both, because it really stinks having to drop one for the other.”

According to Tart, it was the communities and atmosphere that surrounded each of her interests that created this love. Tart said she feels like she gained a new family through band and cheer.

“One of my favorite memories would be after the games when the band will play their post-game songs,” Tart said. “I won’t be up there with them, but I still get to see them play songs, and it’s just super fun because I get to dance along with them and support them from the bottom. It just means a lot to me to see that they still accept me for being in band, even though I do cheer and even though I’m not in the stands during games.”