Star athlete continuing on throughout college


Hannah Snyder, Feature Editor

rsz_img_2568By Feature Editor: Hannah Snyder

Friday night football games are watched by hundreds of students each week. Howell High School senior Tessa Chandler has never missed a game. However, Chandler views the field slightly different than most HHS students – instead of being on the bleachers she’s on the sidelines cheering on her favorite team all season long.

Chandler has been a part of the HHS varsity sideline cheer team since her freshman year. She explained that being a part of the team her freshman year was terrifying at first but then she quickly bonded with the fellow cheerleaders. Being the only freshman on the team, Chandler was able to learn tips and advice from the older, experienced upperclassmen.

“They protected me with everything they had,” Chandler says.

Throughout the years, however, the roles reversed. Quickly Chandler found herself being the senior guiding the underclassmen. This year, Chandler finished off her sideline cheer season with seven other seniors.

For Chandler, the cheer season doesn’t stop when the football games are over.  She has been a part of an Allstar level cheer team for the past six years. Although she stopped her junior year, Chandler was also on the HHS varsity competitive cheer team her freshman and sophomore years.

“[Allstar is] more upbeat and more advanced than any high school cheer,” Chandler says.

It all began in middle school when Chandler began going to the Infinity Athletes (IA) gym located in Wixom. She was originally working on being a better gymnast but saw IA cheerleaders practicing. Their routines, stunts and skills intrigued Chandler and inspired her to start cheering for the first time. Since then, Chandler has been a part of the IA team and is currently cheering for her team, Passion. She is also privileged enough to have her cousin Cassie as one of her cheer coaches. Chandler explained that Cassie pushes her to her fullest potential all season long.

“I was a gymnast all through elementary school so I was afraid of cheering and being in front of so many people at first,” Chandler says.

During sideline season, Chandler was faced with the challenge of being a member of two teams. She practiced almost nine hours a week and often found herself having to rush and get ready in the car between practices.

Cheer isn’t the only thing that occupies Chandler’s time though. Since her junior year, Chandler has been taking the Health Occupations class at HHS. This advanced class helps provide future medical students with the experience they’ll need in the future. Chandler plans on attending Central Michigan University next fall and then eventually attending Ferris State University for pharmacy school to pursue her dream of being a pharmacist.

“I’m going to be in college for the next eight years’” Chandler exclaims.

Chandler doesn’t want to simply retire her cheer career when high school ends. She plans on joining the CMU cheer team next year.

“My tumbling coach right now at Infinity is also the tumbling coach at Central. He’s been showing me cheer videos from them and I’m really excited,” Chandler says.