In the midst of summer when many students were enjoying their time off from school, the headed to New England Cheerleaders Association (NECA) summer camp from July 23 to 26. The T-Birds came home with more than new moves–they earned a number of both individual and team awards.
T-Birds who attended the camp were Shannon Rivera (captain), Kathleen Yotsavath, Chelsea DellaRocca, Emily Bergeron, Joanna Despotakis, Jillian Kruser, Gianna Mauro, Savanah Gallipoli, Jessica Raucci, Ashley Dalkin, Breonna Staton, Carly Mastriano, Alexis Giardina, Mia Ney, Cheyanna DeRosa, Alexandria Smith, Alexandra Galluba, Bianca Smith (captain) and Olyvia Gleason.
Two trained staff members coached the team for the week, working on all aspects of cheerleading, including private instruction in stunting and tumbling.
“The girls learned new stunts that incorporate the new rules passed for this upcoming season and numerous dances and cheers that can be used throughout the year,” said .
The squad used its time at camp to prepare a routine, which was performed for parents, staff and other teams on the final day of camp. North Branford took first place out of the six teams performing in the T-Birds’ division.
In addition to the first-place showing for their performance, many members of the T-Birds’ squad also received individual awards for "Jumps", "Stunting", "Tumbling" and "Best All Around Cheerleader" as Bianca Smith won "Ms. NECA" for her exemplary attitude, humble personality, great leadership skills and team spirit.
As a team, the North Branford T-Birds won seven awards in addition to taking first place in the Grand Champs Competition. Team awards (with descriptions of awards from Laudano) included
- Spirit Stick on the first night “for being spirited and positive above all other teams.”
- Radiating Spirit Award Ribbon on the second night “for being spirited and positive above all other teams.”
- Unity Award plaque “for being so close as a team and working together so well.”
- Congeniality Award plaque “for being friendly and helpful to the other teams at the camp.”
- Best Mounts & Partner Stunts plaque “for the difficulty and creativity of our stunts.”
- Sportsmanship Award trophy “for encouraging, cheering on and supporting the other teams.”
- NECA Cheer X-Factor Trophy “for the cheer portion of our routine when we did it during the practice run.”