By Christina Leslie |Correspondent
The walls of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish Center, Asbury Park, are still reverberating from the fast-paced, high energy performances of the ninth annual Shore Challenge Parochial Cheerleading Exhibition. Cheer squads from nine Catholic elementary schools in Monmouth and Ocean counties joined forces Feb. 11 to excite and entertain onlookers with their displays of athleticism and school spirit.
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Pee-wee, junior varsity and varsity groups from seven diocesan schools first prayed the “Our Father,” then hit the mats for a group “cheer it up” before beginning their individual and team formations. The girls pleased the crowd with their handsprings, splits, jumps, and team formations, while the individual “Miss Yell” competition made both ears and spirits ring.
The exhibition featured squads from the parishes of St. Denis, Manasquan; St. James, Red Bank; St. Catharine, Spring Lake; Holy Family, Union Beach; St. Rose, Belmar; St. Veronica, Howell, and the host parish. Each girl received a medal, and each team took home a trophy to commemorate the day.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the American Association of University Women conducted an essay contest for the eighth grade cheerleaders on the topic “How I can be a student leader for change and raise my voice for issues about women and girls.” AAUW Northern Ocean County Branch president Patricia Baroska, a parishioner of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and organizer of the cheerleading exhibition, presented Elizabeth Clark of St. Catharine Parish a $100 gift card for her winning entry. “It’s all about giving back to the community,” Baroska remarked.