Science Cheerleaders Promote STEM Education

Science Cheerleaders The Science Cheerleaders are a group of professional cheerleaders who also work in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). They aim to promote these fields, increase public interest and encourage more girls to study the sciences.

The group was started by Darlene Cavalier, a former Philadelphia 76ers cheerleader, who created the site Science Cheerleader. As the website got more attention, she was contacted by other pro cheerleaders working in the sciences. The site covers a wide range of science and cheer-related topics, from stories about different women’s career paths to discussions about how appearance affects women in the workplace.

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Rape Victim Fights 2-Year Court Battle for Not Cheering Attacker

cheer-gearA high school student who was sexually assaulted by one of her school’s star athletes has spent two years in court proceedings after she was kicked off the cheer leading team for refusing to cheer on her attacker, Rakheem Bolton. At the age of 16, she was raped at a party after becoming intoxicated. The Texas girl, who is referred to as “H.S.” in legal documents to protect her identity, wants the school to admit to wrongdoing by kicking her off the cheer squad for refusing to cheer for her attacker during basketball games. “As a team, I cheered for them as a whole. When he stepped up to the free throw line, it didn’t feel right for me to have to cheer for him after what he did to me,” she said. The superintendent gave her an ultimatum: cheer on all the players or go home. “She shouldn’t be obligated to cheer for her rapist.” says H.S.’ attorney Larry Watts.

The case has become a complicated one. ABC News reports that the conviction was delayed because of a backlog of cases. Bolton was indicted by a grand jury, and was sentenced last month to a one-year suspended prison term, with two years of probation, community service and a fine. But H.S. and her parents were still upset with the school authorities, arguing that her first amendment rights to freedom of speech were violated by her removal from the cheer team.

The case has been dismissed repeatedly in state and federal courts, who say her refusal to cheer is not protected under her first amendment rights because her participation on the team is voluntary. “All I’ve wanted out of this all along is for somebody to say they’ve done wrong,” said H.S. She also accuses the the high school, the school district, the school principal, the superintendent, the assistant superintendent and the cheer leading coach of being insensitive towards her when Bolton and his friend, who is also facing charges, returned to the school. H.S. says that when she told school officials that she was being taunted, they merely told her to stay out of the cafeteria.

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Cheerleaders Protest Skimpy Uniforms

Heidi Medina, image via CT Post

Heidi Medina, image via CT Post

Heidi Medina, the cheerleading captain for Bridgeport Central High School, went before the Bridgeport Board of Education to protest the team’s midriff-bearing uniforms. The cropped tops are worn with either sweatpants or tight shorts. Skirts were also ordered for the team, but were returned because they didn’t fit any of the cheerleaders correctly. “We ask with the utmost respect you do anything in your power to help us,” said Medina. “I don’t feel comfortable wearing this.”

“It really hurts our self-esteem,” said Ariana Mesaros. “I am embarrassed to stand up here dressed like this. Is this really how you want Bridgeport to be represented?”

Team member and senior Nyasia Clemons, the uniforms do not meet National Federation Spirit Rules requirements. The rules state that “When standing at attention, apparel must cover the midriff.”

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Cheerleading Doesn’t Count as Sport for Gender Equality

cheer-dosent-meet-title-9A federal judge ruled that competitive cheerleading is not an official sport that colleges can use to meet title IX gender-equity requirements, reports the Associated Press. Volleyball players and their coach filed the lawsuit against Quinnipiac University when the school announced that it would be cutting the team for budget reasons. They wanted to replace the volleyball team with a competitive cheer squad.

“Competitive cheer may, some time in the future, qualify as a sport under Title IX,” Judge Stefan Underhill wrote. “Today, however, the activity is still too underdeveloped and disorganized to be treated as offering genuine varsity athletic participation opportunities for students.” Eight schools, including Quinnipiac, recently formed a governing body in hopes that cheer can qualify for title IX, but it is as of yet still too disorganized.

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Cheerleading Not a Sport, According to Varsity Spirit Expert

According to Jeff Webb, CEO of the cheerleading organization Varsity Spirit, cheerleading should not be considered a competitive sport.cheerleader

His testimony comes in the middle of a case where students from Quinnipiac University sued the school when they eliminated the volleyball team in favor of a competitive cheer squad.

The “is cheerleading a sport?” debate has been going on for some time. In January of 2009, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that, not only was cheerleading a sport, it was a contact sport.

OK, so what’s my stance on this? It really comes down to defining what a “sport” is. There are lots of different things that go into that definition in my mind, including the need for some sort of high-level athletic activity in the sport, formal rules and regulations, and some form of formal competition ending with some kind of result, i.e. winning and losing. Read the rest of this entry »

Dakota Fanning Balances Homework With Hollywood

Photo via

Dakota Fanning: Photo via

While many high school students are balancing after school jobs, clubs, athletics and school work, 16-year-old Dakota Fanning somehow manages to be one of the most popular young actresses in Hollywood while still finding time for her homework.

In the Twilight Saga: Eclipse, premiering later at the end of June, Fanning reprises her role as Volturi Jane and told People Magazine that star Kristen Stewart is one of her best friends.

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