When Marisa Laudano heard her old cheerleading squad at needed a coach, she jumped at the chance.
"I was on the team and the girls needed a coach," she explained.
Laudano, a 2007 North Branford High School graduate, is currently studying at Southern Connecticut State University to be an elementary school teacher with a focus on math instruction. She got her coaching certification over the summer in time to start coaching the cheerleading squad when the 2011-12 school year started in August.
"The cheerleaders are doing great so far," she said.
Currently, they are cheering at the varsity boys' basketball home games where they are also heading the .
The T-Birds preparing for the cheerleading competition season, which starts on . On March 9, they will compete in the state tournament in New Haven and, if successful, the squad might go on to the New England regionals.
Laudano said cheerleading is very competitive. The girls need to be very athletic and practice their routines.
That’s why certification is important. She said the certification course makes sure coaches are knowledgeable of first aid and know what to do in case of a head or spine injury, as well as the basics of registration and competitions.
She noted that the cheerleading squad has also done other community service projects under her watch, such as wearing pink t-shirts at a varsity football game in October in observance of .
Laudano said she would love to teach in the North Branford schools in the K-3 grades.
"I love kids," she said. "Every since I was a kid, I wanted to be a teacher." And she wants to continue as the coach of the cheerleading squad.