By: Marcellis Lewis
While most students are relaxing in the sun, swimming in pools or enjoying the last of the summer breeze, the Lakerettes are busy practicing to become better performers. Each summer, the girls take tumbling classes to hone their skills and further bond as a team.
Last year, the Lakerettes performed at nearly all of the men’s and women’s basketball games held at the Goodman Center since its opening last December. The Lakerettes were also present during the center’s groundbreaking ceremony.
“It’s breathtaking and exhilarating to perform in front of the student body,” Tiffany Gabriel said. “You have your classmates, friends, professors, family, staff members – all these people you see around campus, watching you, and it’s amazing. It’s the best experience I’ve ever had.”
Gabriel, who returned to the Lakerettes for a fourth semester, auditioned for the team during her senior year of high school and made it. Since then, she took part in the Lakerettes’ performance during halftime at a Bull’s game last spring.
The Lakerettes’ performance was so well received that the women were invited to return Nov. 8. Tickets will be available for students.
Additionally, this summer, the Lakerettes took first place in the Chicago Xsport Fitness Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Cheer Competition.
The Lakerettes aren’t looking to slow down anytime soon. Rooseveltians can expect “some really cool choreography, new cheers, the Bulls game, more performances, new techniques, and so much more,” according to Gabriel.
“We’re coming up with fundraising ideas, and as always, we’ll have our Valentine’s performance with guys next semester,” Melanie Papandrea said.
Papandrea has been with the team since it was founded in 2010, and now, in her last year at Roosevelt, she said she is still excited about the team and its potential.
Papandrea explained that the best part about being a Lakerette is the family-like bond that the women share.
“I love my team members and love my college experience because of getting involved in athletics and taking advantage of all that Roosevelt has to offer,” she said.
The Lakerettes are an important part of building school spirit, and the girls are well aware of their responsibilities and the rewards that follow.
“It means being the spirit of the school,” Papandrea said. “We are here to entertain and make everyone excited about Roosevelt and Roosevelt’s athletics. The Lakerettes take pride in this. Positivity is key. It’s also contagious and a very important part of being a Roosevelt Lakerette.”
To Andrea Espinosa, a two-year Lakerette veteran, what makes a good Lakerette is the ability to “carry Roosevelt proudly over our shoulders!”
The Lakerettes are searching for 14-16 people to join the team. They seek anyone with a positive attitude, dedication and commitment.
“The last thing we look for is a positive image,” Gabriel said. “After all, we’re cheerleaders – leaders that are cheerful.”