COVINGTON, Ga. — Baselines are packed for every home basketball game in Newton High School’s gymnasium. Filling up most of the space is the Newton Rams’ cheerleading squad, which helps keep the fans involved and engaged during the game.
They also make noise in support of each team’s play on the court.
First year head cheer coach Kia Waters — who is an alumna of Newton High — believes the Rams’ cheer squad makes a huge difference for home basketball games.
“Cheerleaders are the catalyst for support until the last buzzer buzzes,” Waters said. “If nobody else is cheering, win or lose, it should be us. This is a principle that I developed for myself when I was on these same sidelines. The last voices that I want those young ladies and those young men to hear are ours in victory or in defeat.”
Some of Waters’ favorite cheers are: POWER, ACTION and PRESSURE.
And she highlighted how much of what the cheerleaders do during the game is predicated on what is happening in the game.
“If you’re doing it correctly, much of cheer is situational, and the rest general with spirit chants just to keep up the hype,” Waters said. “You’re encouraging the teams to act proactively, to get it together if need be and to never quit.”
For the 2022-23 school year, the Rams have 38 total cheerleaders across varsity and junior varsity squads. Ten of those cheerleaders are seniors with Sarai Baker, Amya Hayes and Imani Hagans serving as varsity team captains.
All of the cheerleaders have been at work perfecting their craft since the summer, and Waters is ecstatic to have the chance to help them out.
“Many moons ago, I cheered on these same sidelines under the leadership of Pam Greer and Pam Cooper,” Waters said. “To be here, in this capacity, is full circle for me. The grueling hours of practice and the level of expectations helped groom me. I get the opportunity to pour back into the school and the community who raised me.”
In addition to basketball games, Newton’s cheer squad attends open houses, new teacher orientations, honors programs as well as football games.
And, while the cheerleaders take great pride in what they do, Waters wants them to not lose out on the importance of what being a cheerleader is and how the lessons from cheer can impact other areas of their lives.
“They are learning to be more responsible, disciplined and focused,” Waters said. “As a coach, my ultimate goal is that they learn that they are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that they are capable of anything that they aspire to accomplish.”
That is why Waters was emphatic in her response when asked what is unique about her squad.
“We are Newton,” Waters said. “The name speaks for itself. There is only one way…the Ram way!”