Jadda Pope returns to ACHS cheer

2020 ACHS graduate Jadda Pope was a varsity cheerleader at ACHS for four years. Pope returned during the 2021-2022 season, this time as a coach.

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Aaliyah Lizak

“The impact of being a sequoit cheerleader has made me more social,” said Pope. “I felt like I could really put myself out there and be who I am without being shy.”

Jadda Pope has created a name for herself in the Antioch cheerleading community. She has always been an inspiration to cheerleaders of all ages. She started as a young cheerleader in Vikings, the high school’s feeder program for cheerleaders in kindergarten through eighth grade. Once Pope began high school she became a teen coach for Vikings. She was a part of the paracheer program for Team USA and she attended the Cheerleader Youth Leadership Program. After only one year of finishing her Sequoit cheerleading career, she decided to join the family once again. 

“I came back because of the love I have for this sport,” Pope said. “High school cheer made me a leader and I wanted to be a role model for these athletes. Being a coach was one of my dream jobs and I couldn’t have been more thankful to be a part of such an amazing program.”

Sports and activities at ACHS value their athletes’ character. While physical skill is important, attitude is also a huge factor. In cheerleading, like any other sport, the athletes need to bring positivity and determination to their team. Caitlin O’Grady, the head coach of the JV cheerleading team at ACHS, believes that character has an impact on performance as an athlete.

“Character and attitude are huge aspects in cheerleading,” O’Grady said. “Growth mindset is something that we discuss all the time, and Jadda has that.”

Having a growth mindset is a core value of the program at Antioch. A lot goes into having a growth mindset. It is not just about being the best that one can be, it is about bringing teammates up and encouraging one another. O’Grady believes Pope demonstrates these values and views her as a role model for their team.

“Jadda is a very determined individual who never gives up,” O’Grady said. “For her to give those values to the current athletes would be a great value to our team as a whole.”

Pope has become the athlete she is today because of the characteristics and values she holds. As a coach, she is now teaching young athletes the things she was taught as a high school cheerleader. She hopes to have an impact on not only their cheerleading career, but also their life.

“One thing I would want my athletes to learn from me is leadership,” Pope said. “You have got to work for things in life; nothing will ever be handed to you.”

The impact a good coach has on an athlete is irreplaceable. They teach valuable lessons one uses throughout their life, not just during their four years of high school. The Sequoits create an environment that is similar to a second family; they are supportive of one another and help each other reach their full potential. No matter what path is chosen in life, individuals like Pope demonstrate the core value of once a Sequoit, always a Sequoit.