First year without cheer team at Bernards High School


Madison Ferruggia

Since Bernards High School first started in 1907, there has always been a cheer team. There has always been a group of students at the football and basketball games cheering on the team.

Athletic Director and Vice Principal Mr. Hoppe says “there’s been a cheerleading team for my entire career here at Bernards,” adding  “we have never not had a cheerleading team.” 

There’s been a sudden decline in the number of cheerleading sign-ups over the past two years, but the 2021-2022 season is the first that we don’t have a cheerleading team at all. The cheerleading sign-ups this season have only received three submissions, whereas in the 2020-2021 season, Bernards High School had a total of ten cheerleaders that were on the sidelines for every single football game. 

Mr. Hoppe says “he urges students to join the cheerleading team, both as a benefit for students and the school as a whole.” At every one of the 2021-2022 football games, the opposing team has had cheerleaders on their sidelines when we have had none. “I want it to be fun, I want it to be engaging,” he says. “I’m hoping it’s just a one-year anomaly… I’d really like to have cheerleaders, I’m a little taken aback by it.” 

Ashley Cardena, 2021 Graduate, quoted for the yearbook, “it makes me happy that we share amazing memories like competitions and bus rides” and Maddie Briskie, also 2021 Graduate, told that her last season was “unforgettable.” 

The memories made on this cheerleading team, from all of its members, seemed to have been valuable, and the entire team raved about how much their team felt like a family. BHS last cheer team was in the 2020-2021 season, where there were ten girls total participating– eight of them seniors. This may have contributed to the overall lack of cheerleaders for this year’s squad, having only the two girls remaining. Though the rate for female sports sign-ups has gone up significantly this year, BHS has never seen just one additional cheerleader sign up for the team. There are many extended efforts to recruit cheerleaders to be on the sidelines for next winter, as the last two remaining cheerleaders from the 2020-2021 season graduate this spring. The BHS cheer team is currently reaching out to both Bedminster School’s cheerleading team, as well as the Somerset Hills cheerleading team, hoping to recruit this year’s eighth graders to cheer as freshmen next year.