By RENEE FITE
For some little girls, fitness and fun come together in cheer and tumbling lessons.
Parents who want to provide opportunities to try different types of lessons may find it cost prohibitive with fees, costumes, traveling and other expenses. One option is Continuing Education, through Northeastern State University, which offers classes for $75 a semester for aspiring future RiverHawk squad members.
NSU’s cheer and tumbling class met for its first lesson Wednesday evening in the Dobbins Field House.
“They used to have a tumbling class several years ago,” said Andrea Sprague, administrative assistant for Continuing Ed. “We looked at some classes from the past and wanted to bring back some traditions.”
Krystal Herrin, former NSU cheerleader and instructor for the class, enjoys working with the children.
“It’s fun seeing their faces whenever they learn a new trick,” Herrin said.
The class began with students seated on workout mats on the floor, mirroring the instructor as she demonstrated stretching movements. Their attention was focused on Herrin, who smiled and chatted with the girls worked to mimic the maneuvers.
After warming up, the girls lined up at the end of the mat to practice backward flips. Running came next, to build strength and stamina.
Over the semester, students will learn to do a forward roll, cartwheel, round-offs and back handsprings, Herrin said. And the girls will perform at a basketball game.
“It’s an adrenaline rush, getting out there in front of a crowd to perform,” Herrin said, recalling her own cheerleading days. “And it’s fun to be with friends and to challenge myself.”
One mom, Julie Teague, likes the fact that the lesson is one time a week.
“It’s tumbling and cheer together, and it’s not competitive, but for fun,” Teague said. “I read about it in the newspaper today and was glad when I called and it wasn’t filled up.”
Teague’s daughter, Calan, 5, was twirling and tumbling before class began.
“I’ve wanted to do tumbling all my life,” Calan said. “I can do flips.”
Teague said her daughter took swimming lessons through NSU and thought it was fun, so she figured these lessons would be, too.
Ten-year-old Sierra Hill was assisting Herrin with “spot” tumbling, supporting a student learning a trick. Hill really likes tumbling, she said.
“I feel unique from my other family members because I can do this,’ Hill said. “I like tumbling. I get stronger and I can do flips and stuff.”
She likes cheer because she gets to go to competitions and wins sometimes.
“I like when my teammates try their best,” Hill said.
Christie McDonald brought daughter Emmalee, 5, for exercise.
“She wants to be a cheerleader, but she’s so small right now,” said McDonald. “Other classes are so expensive. I know the teacher from school, and this is a good starting point. I want to be sure she likes it because it’s such an investment.”
Other classes can cost several hundred dollars a month, plus the extra expense of uniforms, and travel.
“This is really neat, and average working folk can afford it,” McDonald said.
Moms Brandy Hayes and Sherry Lingbeck were chatting as they watched their children during the lesson.
“She loves it! They have a blast here,” Hayes said of daughter Emily, who attended last semester. “As Little RiverHawks, they got to perform at a football game and this time they’ll get to perform at a basketball game.”
They also got to ride on a float in the Homecoming Parade, she said.
“It’s great. The teacher is really patient and it’s affordable. It’s been a good experience,” Hayes said.
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