You Can Create a Thriving Cheer Section

January 8, 2013

By Carly Joseph
Pontiac Notre Dame Prep senior

This time last year, I spent an entire cold winter evening alone in my room on the computer watching the surprisingly large number of Battle of the Fans entries. 

I remember being amazed not only by the number of entries, as it was the first year of BOTF, but by the spirit, participation, and positivity of those schools as well.

Though it was both exciting and inspiring to witness such an overload of school spirit all at once, a hint of jealousy crept into my mind. “My school could never do this,” I thought.  

I wondered what it would be like to be part of a school that actually had a decent student section. Throughout my first three years of high school, it seemed as if most kids were usually too busy to come to football and basketball games, myself included. Especially since students attending my school, Notre Dame Prep, come from all different cities, the drive back out to school for the game was always a convenient excuse not to attend.

Even with a slightly pessimistic approach for changing my school’s general attitude toward attending games for this year, I learned that with the help of other students and a lot of organization, the student section at NDP could be transformed from essentially non-existent to the place to be on a Friday night. 

Aided by the success of our football team and a group of junior and senior boys who really started to embrace the idea of having a good student section, everything really started to pick up. We held weekly Varsity Club meetings to decide the theme for each game, and even formed a designated group of student section leaders called the Irish Guard, who are responsible for leading cheers and keeping everyone paying attention to the game. We also started to promote the games and the theme for each game on Twitter, which really helped remind students to come out to games and get excited to support our teams.

The NDP student section has by no means reached its full potential, but it is definitely moving forward and will only improve in the years to come. Despite the fact that our student section may not be the best in the state (yet) or even have enough organization to create an entry for this year’s BOTF competition, I think that our transformation truly shows that any school can create a thriving student section – if they really want it to happen.  

Whether your school has an impressive student section or maybe needs a little help starting up, keep in mind that organization and positivity are the keys to making it better.

Click for more information on the Battle of the Fans contest. Deadline for school entries is Saturday. 

Carly Joseph, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep senior

  • Sport: Cross country
  • Non-sports activities: Varsity Club, Spanish National Honor Society
  • Favorite class: AP Spanish
  • Up next: Joseph will attend Michigan Technological University and study biomedical engineering.
  • Career sports highlight: Running a personal best at my cross country Regional (21:15) this fall.
  • Pump-up jam: "Round and Round" by Imagine Dragons
  • Must-see TV: "Dexter"
  • Favorite film: "She's the Man"

PHOTO: The Pontiac Notre Dame Prep student cheering section roots on its football team during "Neon Night" this fall. (Photo courtesy of Carly Joseph.)

Performance of the Week: Macomb Dakota's Gracie Maloney

May 12, 2023

Gracie MaloneyGracie Maloney ♦ Macomb Dakota
Junior ♦ Softball

Maloney struck out 21 batters – for every one of her team’s outs – in Dakota’s 9-1 victory over Grosse Pointe North on May 1. She gave up only two hits and also hit a home run for the Cougars, who are ranked No. 1 in Division 1 in the latest state coaches association poll. Maloney is one of only 13 pitchers in state softball history to strike out 21 or more hitters during a seven-inning game.

Also a third baseman, Maloney started last season’s Division 1 Final at that position and threw an inning of relief as well as Dakota finished runner-up to Allen Park. She also plays basketball, and has committed to sign to play softball at University of North Texas. She’s considering studying sports management there as she aspires to become a college softball coach.

@mhsaasports 🥎 POW: Gracie Maloney #softball #strikeout #strike #performanceoftheweek #homerun #dakota #macombdakota #cougars #MHSAA #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #TikTok#mistudentaid #fyp @gracie ♬ Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Viral - WZ Beat

Follow the MHSAA on TikTok.'s "Performance of the Week" features are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

2022-23 Honorees

May 4: Braxton Brann, Ann Arbor Huron track & field - Report
April 27:
Owen Patton, Vestaburg track & field - Report
April 20:
Lilly Damm, Millington softball - Report
April 13:
Larissa Huffman, Mackinaw City track & field - Report
April 6:
Darius Acuff, Detroit Cass Tech basketball - Report
March 23:
Regan Finkbeiner, Hemlock basketball - Report
March 16:
Alaina Yaney, Grand Ledge gymnastics - Report
March 9:
Braeden Davis, Dundee wrestling - Report
March 2:
Gabriel Sanchez-Burks, Ann Arbor Pioneer swimming - Report
Feb. 23:
Grace Sobczak, Marquette swimming - Report
Feb. 16:
Kaitlynn Demers, Gibraltar Carlson competitive cheer - Report
Feb. 9:
Indya Davis, West Bloomfield basketball - Report
Feb. 2:
Braydon Sorenson, Onekama skiing - Report
Jan. 26:
Shayna Hruska, Iron Mountain wrestling - Report
Jan. 19:
Kayla Tafanelli, Warren Woods-Tower bowling - Report
Dec. 20:
Brenden Paden, Riverview Gabriel Richard hockey - Report
Dec. 16:
Tuff Scott, Holton bowling - Report
Dec. 9:
Macey Fegan, Standish-Sterling basketball - Report
Dec. 2:
Treyton Siegert, Gladwin football - Report
Nov. 24:
Lily Witte, Dexter diving - Report
Nov. 17:
Navea Gauthier, Shelby volleyball - Report
Nov. 10:
Derek Huisman, Holland Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3:
Thomas Westphal, New Baltimore Anchor Bay cross country - Report
Oct. 27:
Justin Wickey, Colon football - Report
Oct. 20:
Owen DeMuth, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood tennis - Report
Oct. 13:
Mia Melendez, Ann Arbor Greenhills golf - Report
Oct. 6:
Shawn Foster, Grand Ledge football - Report
Sept. 30:
Hannah Smith, Temperance Bedford swimming - Report
Sept. 22:
Helen Sachs, Holland West Ottawa cross country - Report
Sept. 15:
Nina Horning, Lake Orion volleyball - Report
Sept 8:
Arturo Romero, Muskegon Oakridge soccer - Report
Sept. 1:
Austin King, Midland Dow tennis - Report
Aug. 25:
Olivia Hemmila, Troy Athens golf - Report

PHOTOS courtesy of the Maloney family.