Day in the life of cheerleader on Homecoming weekend

Josephine Meriot

More stories from Josephine Meriot


Courtesy of Maya Philips

Seniors Francesca Urioste, Mia Fainbraun, Jillian Ward, Maddy Turner, Gretchen Klotz, Sinead Longsworth, Josephine Meriot and Julia Beato pose before other grades came to see the Mardi Gras themed Homecoming hallways.


Homecoming hallways:

Following multiple days of setting up, Homecoming Friday finally arrived. Purple, gold and green, senior Gretchen Klotz arrived at 6:45 a.m. at the student commons. As a Mardi Gras partier, Klotz brought her energy to dance and sing at such an especially early hour. Although she had to save her voice for the cheers later that evening, Klotz still brought enthusiasm and spirit and shared it with WJ students and teachers who passed through the senior hallway,
“Hoco halls were so fun to participate in and get the school and grade hype for homecoming and the start of a new year,” Klotz said.

Decorating football’s locker room door:

The long lasting tradition of decorating the football’s locker room door before the Homecoming game was continued. The cheer and (poms) team not only wear the football players jerseys but also show up after 7th period and decorate the door. Usually, they are assigned one player’s locker and are told to decorate it with signs, string, candy, but this time they came with a twist. Air fresheners were the key element in the surprise as the cheer team decided collaboratively that something had to be done about the smell. The surprise was to encourage the team and wish them luck with their big game against Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School.

Nail appointments:

In between all the activities of decorating and spirit, Klotz and her friends had set an appointment at a nail salon in order to prepare for the dance and pictures the next day. Based on her dress and shoes, Klotz had chosen a specific nail design and color so that everything went together cohesively.

Team dinner:

In preparation for the game, the cheerleading team recuperated their energy by having a team dinner outside and enjoying the company of each other.
“I love team dinners because I get to bond with girls on my team in a way that is new and talk about things other than cheer,” Klotz said.

The game:

After hyping the visitors during the homecoming hallway, Klotz was equally as excited to cheer on the team and the student section. At around 6:30pm, captains Klotz and Madelyn Turner lead a circle stretch for poms and their team. Once warmed up, both teams brought out the big poster they decorated throughout the week and held it out in order for the football team to run through it as their big entrance. Throughout the close and stressful game, cheer kept their energy up and encouraged both the team to keep fighting with their chants. The chants were successful as WJ beat BCC, “My favorite cheers are wiggle low and the class chants,” Klotz said.


Homecoming prep:

Following her energy draining day, Klotz had to get to school in the morning and set up the homecoming dance. Klotz, being part of Leadership, participated in organizing and setting up the first homecoming dance outside on the tennis courts. Once the tent, games and signs were up, Klotz then headed to her friend’s house to start getting ready for pictures.


Once the party tennis court was prepared for thousands of students to arrive at 6 p.m., Klotz headed home and started her preparation process of being picture ready. At 4:30 p.m., Klotz arrived at Veronika Lawson’s backyard where other seniors were gathering to take pictures together. Accompanied by Gabe Manzano, Klotz participated in the homecoming boutonniere and corsage and made memories that will be on camera forever.

Dinner and Homecoming dance:

At 5:30 p.m., her group headed to their dinner reservation at MatchBox in Bethesda where they quickly ate and spent the little time they had before attending the actual dance together. Leadership members had to be at the dance by 7:30 p.m. which they accomplished. From the karaoke machine to the mosh pit, Klotz enjoyed her last Homecoming as best she could. The turnout was better than she had expected as more tickets were available to be sold as the tennis courts are larger than the small gym where Homecoming dance usually takes place. The dance ended at 9 p.m. and Klotz and her Leadership friends had to dismantle everything they had put up a couple hours before. They picked up trash, took down banners and games and finally by 9:30 p.m. everything was cleaned up. The big weekend was finally over and she could finally breathe. She ended the night with her friends laughing and reminiscing about their last homecoming as seniors.


Although all the Homecoming activities were finished and completed, Klotz still had not done any of her homework from Friday. Despite the entertaining activities she had all weekend long, reality did have to come back and she was going to have to return to normal schedule on Monday. Besides her homework, Klotz also spent her day moving on her college applications.

The work and practice continued despite the game they just had, Klotz attended cheer practice on Sunday.