Chatfield Poms prepare future generation of dancers

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By Lauren Gaddie-Johnson

The squeals of delight could be heard down the hallways Feb. 1 at Chatfield Senior High School.

No, it wasn’t because the Chargers girls basketball team was winning but rather because the future Poms girls in the stands were excited for their upcoming performance at halftime.

The kindergarten through 6th grade youngsters were part of the Chatfield Poms’ fund-raiser – a three-day camp that culminated in a Friday night dance and cheer performance.

“For three days, the girls come for two hours after school and learn the dance, some cheers and learn technique,” said Nicole Graham, the Chatfield Poms’ coach. “We encourage the young girls to continue to take dance classes so they can be a Pom when they’re in high school.”

Graham participated in Poms herself when she attended Chatfield. She has been coaching the team for six years and wanted to keep the fund-raiser alive. That is why she became involved.

The camp costs $35 per child and includes a T-shirt, Pon Poms, admission to the game and a snack each day at camp.

The money goes toward Chatfield’s trip to the National Dance Championship held in Orlando, Fla. This year, the competition will take place March 1 through March 3.

“This fund-raiser allows us to be able to go to nationals,” said Kelsey Sturdevant, a senior on the Chatfield Poms squad. “This is a crucial fund-raiser because there are just a few ways to earn enough money for all of us to go. All of the elementary schools get involved ee Ute Meadows, Stony Creek, Bradford intermediate and primary and Coronado.”

Sturdevant said the camp is something she looks forward to each year.

“I’ve done this for four years and this is my last year and it’s kind of sad,” Sturdevant said. “I’ve gotten more and more comfortable with the little girls and they’re a lot of fun. It’s always surprising how much they look up to us.”

One of Sturdevant’s teammates, Bryn Galisewski, is a junior who will return to Poms next year for her final year. Some of the camp’s participants made her a card and came to give her “goodbye” hugs at the end of Friday’s halftime show.

“Are you going to remember us?,” one of the little girls asked while another seemed shocked that Galisewski was going to graduate next year.

“I love kids,” Galisewski said. “This is like a dream come true for me. I love teaching dance and being around all of the little girls. “It’s just great to see how they react to us and it makes me appreciate what I do. I am flattered that they look up to us.”