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: Hemlock's Regan Finkbeiner

March 24, 2023

Regan FinkbeinerRegan Finkbeiner ♦ Hemlock
Senior ♦ Basketball

The 5-foot-6 guard capped her high school career at Breslin Center over the weekend with team highs of 24 points and four steals in Thursday’s 57-26 Division 3 Semifinal win over Hart and the team-leading 19 points and four assists in the 59-43 win over Blissfield on Saturday that clinched the Huskies their first MHSAA Finals championship in girls basketball.

Finkbeiner played all but four minutes of 64 total over the two games, and she made a combined 15 of her 27 shots from the floor and 9 of 10 free throw attempts, plus four 3-pointers in the Final. She had entered the season’s final week averaging 17.1 points, 3.5 assists and 4.8 steals per game and in February became the program’s all-time leading scorer breaking the previous record of 1,302. A standout in multiple sports, she’s committed to continue playing softball after high school at Madonna University. Her basketball team finished 26-3 this winter.

@mhsaasports 🏀POW: Regan Finkbeiner #performanceoftheweek #basketball #champion #congrats #huskies #hemlock #letsgo #moana #MHSAA #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #TikTok#mistudentaid #fyp ♬ Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Viral - WZ Beat

Follow the MHSAA on TikTok.

MI Student Aid'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

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:
Shayne 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

PHOTO Hemlock's Regan Finkbeiner drives to the basket during her team's Semifinal win over Hart. (Photos courtesy of the Hemlock girls basketball program.)