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Beyond the Sidelines: Featuring Ashley Gardner, S! Founder & CEO

Q: What inspired you to create S!
A: I love school cheerleading and what it represents! I have very fond memories of being on the sidelines with my teammates. Cheering at games was a true passion of mine while in school. The energy, the fans, the field - everything that encompasses game day is so exciting! With the recent emergence and popularity of All-Star teams, the focus of cheerleading has shifted. School cheerleading has a great purpose because it is representative of an entire school - it encompasses more than just your team. School cheerleaders are essentially supporters of sports teams but more importantly are leaders of the student body; which directly relates to the original purpose of cheerleading. We want to bring it back to the basics and stress the importance of the school cheerleader. We cater to school cheerleading teams and focus on developing them into squads and individuals that will make a positive impact within their schools and communities.

Q: What is S! mission?
A: To empower cheerleaders to lead on and beyond the sidelines.

Q: Tell us your cheer story.
A: As a young girl, I decided that cheerleading was the sport for me. I was part of All-Star team all throughout elementary school. Once I reached middle school at Strack, I realized that I wanted to try-out for my school’s team – and I made it! I developed a genuine passion for school cheerleading; it offered me a unique experience and taught me about team unity, pride and tradition. I continued cheering throughout middle school and was thrilled to take things to the next level once I made it to Klein High. Some of my fondest memories stem from being on the sidelines on a Friday night. Cheering on the football team and performing to the cadences of the band was so much fun. Fast forward to college, I worked as an NCA staff member teaching camps during the summertime in Texas. Post college, I became a Houston Texans cheerleader.  Performing for an audience of 70,000 on national television allowed me to have a sideline experience unlike any other!

Q:  What’s next for S!?
A: It’s truly our most exciting year ever! We have the opportunity to impact more cheerleaders on a continual basis. Through the launch of our new training facility in October, we will be able to offer year-round support to school cheerleaders as well as individuals that are interested in taking cheer classes as a hobby.