“The Devils are here, watch out and move because ASU is coming through!” chanted the ASU Prep Phoenix cheer squad, kicking off their first-ever competition, the CAA Winter Classic Cheer and Dance Championships. That chant and the routine that followed earned the team first place.
The journey to victory
The journey to victory wasn’t an easy one. Last fall the squad was without the leadership of a coach or captain when Coach De‘Shonda Barnes stepped in. Now with her at the helm, the squad is composed of sixteen 6th to 12th graders, led by senior Captain Kamorah Coleman. They were also without uniforms, so Barnes promised them, “I’m gonna make sure that you at least have pom poms and bows…and deliver a fire routine.”
She jokes that the pom poms she purchased online stained the girls’ hands yellow. Thanks to fundraising and community support the squad now has coordinating uniforms, including upgraded pom poms.
And after hours of research and planning, as well as drawing on her own dance and cheer background, Barnes delivered on her promise to create an awesome routine. Two routines, actually.
Perfecting their routine
Before the competition, the squad embraced long Saturday practices and even had the chance to perform at an ASU Prep Phoenix basketball game. Shortly after, they discovered they had to enter a different, higher division for the upcoming competition. This meant learning a revamped routine—in just one week.
When they performed it at the CAA Winter Classic Cheer and Dance competition—full of hip-hop dance moves, stunts, and the signature ASU “Forks up!” hand sign—it was their first time performing it in front of an audience.
After their performance, as awards were announced, the girls held their breath and each other’s hands. When ASU Prep Phoenix was announced for first place in the intermediate division, the squad did what they do best—cheer! And so did the audience of supporters. Coach Barnes shares, “My heart was so filled with joy, I could not stop crying. It was amazing.” Kamorah agrees, describing the special moment as “a blur.”
Hard effort pays off
When talking about the squad and the hard work that’s gotten them this far, this fast, Coach Barnes exudes pride: “What makes the team so special is their dedication. And they’re friends. They love each other. It’s love, respect, friendship, and dedication. That’s a winning combination right there.” Kamorah concurs, adding: “The different personalities and the different grade levels blend so well. It just works!”
Up next, the squad that first expected to compete in the novice category will now compete against intermediate and advanced teams at April’s state competition. But first, they’re celebrating their recent victory with a team bonding sleepover filled with fun and junk food treats, and…more practice, of course.
Learn more about ASU Prep Phoenix
ASU Preparatory Academy Phoenix is a tuition-free, PreK–12 public charter school offering personalized paths to college and career success while helping students prep for college, prep for careers, and prep for life. To learn more about ASU Prep Phoenix, visit our website.
Watch their performance here.