Making a mark on, off the mat

By: Brittany Escalera - Staff Intern

For Ania Jackson, her daily routine is pretty simple. School, cheer practice and work and if she can squeeze in the time to do some community service, she takes that on as well.

But during the fall and winter seasons, cheerleading is her main focus.

“I’ve been cheering for five years now, I started in the eighth grade,” Jackson expressed..

Jackson is a rising senior at Lakewood High School and is a first year captain of the varsity cheer squad. She recalls this past season as being one of the most memorable.

“We placed second in our competition and we were up against five or six schools so it, was a great accomplishment for us,” Jackson stated.

In a sport that so rarely gets recognition, it is important to the young cheerleader that people respect her team’s hard work and effort.

“Cheerleaders are always underestimated. We run and train and condition just as hard as any other sport. We lift people,” Jackson said.

The spunky rising senior is also heavily involved with community service. She is also a member of the Beta Club and Science Club at Lakewood.

Some of her community service projects include visiting nursing homes, cleaning up in and around school area, and volunteering at local yard sales.

Jackson expressed how her community service work has helped shaped her into a kinder human being.

“I feel that helping my community has made me more patient than before. These services require a certain attitude and made me realize that being positive about things and helping is much better than doing nothing at all,” Jackson added.

Patience is a virtue that she also carries into cheerleading when the never ending practices start and the stunts that just won’t stick start to worry her.

“My teammates and I work together very well. We vibe off of each other,” she continued.

While the squad is small, Jackson says she believes that their strength comes from the strong bond and chemistry they all hold from cheering together for so long.

As for her plans after high school, Jackson dreams of studying film and one day becoming a director.

Ania Jackson cheering at a Friday night football game. Jackson cheering at a Friday night football game.

Ania Jackson, fourth from left, with her fellow teammates before a game. Jackson, fourth from left, with her fellow teammates before a game.

Ania Jackson cheering on her Lakewood Leopards. Jackson cheering on her Lakewood Leopards.

Brittany Escalera

Staff Intern