Inspiring Cheerleaders throughout History
To be a cheerleader is to inspire and cheer on those around you! So it should come as no surprise that some of the brightest and greatest people in history were cheerleaders at some point in their life. Below is just a short list of individuals from various backgrounds and professions that will show you what is possible when you let cheer into your heart and soul.
Lawrence “Herkie” Herkimer
Born a Michigander, Lawrence Herkimer grew up in Dallas, TX. Having developed a stutter early on, cheerleading helped him overcome it. When on the sidelines he was unshakable, with clear enunciation and an enthusiastic persona that thrilled the crowd. After high school, he joined the Navy and served during World War II. He then attended SMU where he was head cheerleader and obtained his bachelor’s of science degree and a master’s degree from The University of Illinois. Considered by most as the grandfather of Modern Cheerleading, he created the “Herkie jump” and has continued to have a strong influence in the cheerleading world. Because of his love for the sport, he founded the National Cheerleaders Association; along with his Cheerleading Supply Company with catalogs offering all things cheer related. He also created and patented the pompom, which he started in his garage and turned into a $55 million business. At the age of 61, he sold his company saying “I couldn’t think like a 15-year-old girl anymore.” Herkie passed away last June, at the age of 89, leaving a permanent mark in the cheer industry.
Before her award-winning career, Sandra Bullock, grew up in Germany until the age of 12, where she studied both ballet and vocal arts. She would go on European Opera tours with her mother and occasionally take a small part in the productions. After moving to the United States, she attended Washington-Lee High School where she was a cheerleader and active in the theater program. She then attended East Carolina University, earning a college degree in drama in 1986, moving to Manhattan shortly after. Pursuing her acting career, she supported herself as a waitress, bartender and coat checker while auditioning for roles. She has since been awarded the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress, Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role, a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama, along with an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as Leigh Anne Tuohy in “The Blind Side”.
President Ronald Reagan was an incredibly talented and multi-faceted man. Born in the small town of Tampico IL his family lived in various parts of the state through his life. He developed a love for Acting, Sports and Story telling while in high school but it wasn’t until college that he began cheerleading. He became a ‘Jack of all Trades’ excelling at sports, acting and politics . He was captain of the swim team, a football player, student body president, and even lead a protest when the school tried to cut back on staff. He would serve as governor of California from January 2, 1967 – January 6, 1975 before taking the Presidency January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989 serving two terms as the 40th President of the United States.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Before his days serving as the 32nd President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt “FDR” was a B-student at Harvard College, where he was a member of the cheerleading squad. He was always upbeat and charismatic, which makes it no surprise for his cheerleading career. Later, he was stricken with poliomyelitis (polio) restricting the use of his legs, although not completely paralyzed. Never allowing his illness hold him back, Franklin continued his political career. He served as the Governor of New York, the Assistant Secretary of the US Navy, ran as a vice presidential candidate, and as he’s best known for, the President of the United States. During his role as President, he lead our country out of the Great Depression and through World War II, serving 4 terms in office. He created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), public works programs such as the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), set up the Social Security system, instituting minimum wage, outlawing child labor, and mandating the 40-hour work week with overtime. FDR was laid to rest after his unexpected death in 1945. He was commemorated as the face of the US dime for his involvement with the March of Dimes.