What comes to mind when you think of cheerleading? Pom poms? Spirit sticks? Uniforms? Of course, these are all common associations made to cheer, but have you ever wondered where and how cheer first started? Believe it or not, cheerleading originated at the collegiate level, as early as 1877 at notable schools like Princeton . It began as an all-male activity! Since then, the world of cheer has been reshaped and modified to what it is now"”a widely popular, predominantly female, and highly competitive sport found on many campuses across the states. Shortly after the evolution of cheer squads at the collegiate level began at the high school level, middle schools quickly followed the growing trend.

Middle school cheer is much like high school cheer on the grounds that they follow the same rules and regulations, and depending on how advanced the squad is, do some of the same stunts and moves. Cheerleaders at the middle school level also perform at pep rallies, basketball and football games, and against other squads at local/national competitions. Most stunts at a middle school level are less extreme, and include simple elevators, knee stands, and extensions. Some squads will perform harder stunts like heel stretches and scorpions. Middle school cheerleading may go for the fall and winter season (to cover football and basketball), but may also be a year-round activity.

As is standard practice for most school sports, cheerleading squads at middle schools require a C grade point average to be eligible to even try out for the team. Even at a younger age, cheerleaders are expected to be peer leaders and are regarded as team supporters and model students that must learn to juggle good grades and extracurricular activities.

No matter the level, whether it is at the entry or professional level, all cheerleaders are held to a uniform standard. Cheerleaders must be spirited and motivated peer leaders, and supportive team members.