The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media


It’s all about that base

Some high school athletes find purpose in their sport through social connections, but for junior Jennifer Serifov, her passion for cheerleading provides a deeper understanding of her personal identity.
Hannah Barczak

High school varsity sports often come with intense levels of anxiety, but for junior Jennifer Serifov, the passion she has for cheerleading is worth the stress. 

Serifov has been cheering for over 10 years, starting in the Antioch Vikings program when she was just six years old. Now, she is a prominent leader on the varsity cheer team at Antioch Community High School and has been an essential part of their success throughout her high school career. Although she began her freshmen year on JV, she overcame the difficulties holding her back and she worked her way up to be one of the most important asssests on the varsity team. Serifov is one of the main bases for the ACHS cheerleading team, contributing to their great success in recent years. This year, with the help of Serifov, they are looking to win state. The girls have been putting in tremendous efforts to fight their way to first place, and Serifov’s leadership has been an incredible help. 

Even though she has been cheering for over half of her life, she still is as enthusiastic as ever, showing up to every practice ready to push herself to her best abilities.  

Having the motivation to get better every year and wanting to do better than the year before keeps my passion alive,” Serifov said. “If I struggled with something a lot the previous year, going into the next year I focus on that one skill and try to figure out what was causing me to struggle, helping me grow as an athlete.”

Although finding her purpose in this sport has been easy, sometimes Serifov needs to lean on someone for support; her older sister Fiona Serifov is who she looks to for encouragement. Jennifer describes Fiona as an inspiration in all aspects of her life: cheerleading, school and her regular day-to-day. She also says that her sister is always there to give her strength no matter the circumstances. 

 The sisters cheered together in the 2022-2023 season and loved every second, not taking a moment for granted. Jennifer’s admiration for her sister has pushed her to be a better athlete and leader for her team in the years to come. While Jennifer leans on her sister for support, she has also made an everlasting influence on Fiona. 

Jennifer makes an impact on my life every day,” Fiona said. “Her presence makes me feel safe like I have a support system with someone who truly understands me. She makes me a better person and her sunshine energy radiates every time she smiles. She makes me proud every day, whether it is her passion and determination for the sport or how she carries herself in everyday life.”

Smart, driven and widely intelligent are all words used to describe Jennifer Serifov in just about everything she does.

“She has grown into a strong leader for her peers and student-athletes in Antioch and is easily seen as she exemplifies that in cheerleading,” Fiona said.

Jennifer’s improvement in her cheerleading abilities is prominent to everyone who watches her, especially her tumbling coach, Debbie Bessette. Jennifer and Bessette have been working together to expand her tumbling abilities since she was in third grade. 

“The improvements in her tumbling skills over the past few years are remarkable,” Bessette said. “It is a true joy watching her work to better her skills. She is the most dedicated person I know, often coming in by herself to perfect a skill she knows she can achieve. She is a fighter who is not afraid to put in the hard work.” 

For most high schoolers, getting involved is extremely important, and Jennifer is no exception.  Even though cheerleading is a large part of her high school identity, it is just a small portion of who she truly is. Student council executive board member, National Honors Society member, violinist and former Junior Miss Antioch are all titles she holds while only being a junior in high school. Finding and maintaining a balance is extremely hard, but she has learned how to fight through adversity from her experiences in cheer. 

“I feel like I’ve learned how to change my mindset and to not focus so much about what could go wrong, but more so what could go well,” Jennifer said. “Whenever I’m put into a difficult situation I always think, ‘What would I do if this was cheerleading?’ This helps me manage anxiety no matter what I’m going through because if I was able to manage it during cheer, I could do it now.” 

She also believes leadership is one of the most important aspects of one’s life. She continuously strives to make an impact on her community and has an innate sense of leadership in everything she does. 

“Being a leader is not only being able to step up and assist others but also helping them recognize what amazing capabilities they have, along with the potential they possess to contribute to your team,” Jennifer said. “Then helping and leading them to find that strength within themselves to help them achieve those goals.” 

The immense impact her leadership has made within the ACHS cheerleading program has greatly changed their team dynamic all together. She is always brightening the mood and finding something to positively look back on. Jennifer knows how to find the good in every day, while also anchoring the team to focus on their improvements. 

Her teammate, senior Alex Lehn, could not imagine the cheer squad without her. The two have cheered together at ACHS for two years, but their bond started when they were both in the Vikings program. Ever since they met, they have continued to support each other as they grew up and evolved into the leaders they are today. 

“I couldn’t imagine not having Jennifer in my life,” Lehn said. “She challenges our team to be better and do our best even when we are at our lowest. She always gives us positive feedback and encouragement. Jennifer is always there for everyone when they need her and always makes them feel comfortable enough to share anything.” 

As Jennifer nears the end of her junior year, the thought of college is close to her mind. She has decided not to continue her cheerleading career in college, as she wants to focus on her education. However, she is going to put forth her knowledge of leadership and perseverance that she has accumulated throughout her years on ACHS varsity cheer to achieve her goals and positively impact those around her. 

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About the Contributors
Reese Igou
Reese Igou, Tom Tom Staff
Reese Igou is a junior and this is her second year on the staff. She is the executive spirit coordinator for Sequoit Senate and she also plays basketball and soccer. In her free time, she loves to hang out with her friends, sleep, hang out with her family and animals, read, and listen to music while cleaning her whole house.
Hannah Barczak
Hannah Barczak, Visual Director
Hannah Barczak is a senior this is her fourth year on staff as well as her second year as the Visual Director on the Executive Board of the Tom Tom.  Along with her interest in media, this will be her fourth year as an ACHS cheerleader. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends, taking pictures, and traveling during her free time. Barczak is excited to make the most of her senior year.
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