Girau joining SMCC cheer squad

by Sean Dunlap

Franklin County High School senior cheerleader Kylee Girau announced she was signing with Southwest Mississippi Community College to help cheer on the Bears beginning this fall.

On Thursday, May 5, Girau was joined by her cheer squad peers and supporters in making her commitment to the Summit post-secondary institution official.

“I’m excited because I get to continue to cheer and I will be studying to become a nurse — two things that I really want to do,” Girau said.
“I am grateful to have this opportunity to further my education and to follow my dreams.”

Initially, Girau was not completely certain that she wanted to attend SMCC, but a friend asked her to go to an “open gym” program there and everything changed.

“After going and seeing the campus and getting the feel of what it is like there, I knew that I wanted to go to Southwest,” she continued.

Cindy Reid-Henderson, who serves as SMCC cheerleading coach, said a lot of eyes had been on the soon-to-be Franklin County graduate since she first visited the college campus.

“We’re very excited to have her because she has progressed so much from that first ‘open gym’ until now,” Reid-Henderson said.

The coach noted she anticipates Girau will be an integral part of her program and will have the opportunity to travel with the school’s cheer squad for a planned camp at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa during July.

“This will be a chance for Kylee to learn about the college cheer experience before we begin in the fall,” Reid-Henderson noted.

“Our squad will also have the chance to take part in nationals in January at Disney World in Florida — this will be our second year there after going for the first time this past year.”

Reid-Henderson said the SMCC cheerleading team has a reputation of being like family, and Girau got to see that first hand when she initially visited.

“We do ‘open gyms’ starting in the first part of February up until we do our tryouts,” she went on to say.

“These programs give students the chance to come in and see if they would like to be part of college cheerleading. which is very different from high school cheerleading.

“I think Kylee enjoyed being part of that and we were so excited to see her tryout, and she had a great effort.”

Angela Chance and Porsha Shaw, who serve as FCHS cheer sponsors, said they know Southwest is getting an athlete in Girau who is not afraid to broaden her horizons.

“She has a lot of confidence in her abilities and can quickly learn a stunt when you ask her to,” Chance said while fighting back tears.

“Kylee will excel in everything she does because she has a passion for it.”

“Kylee’s work ethic is phenomenal,” Shaw added. “When you tell her something needs to be corrected, she’s going to do it and will work 10 times harder to get it right.”

In reflecting on her time with the Bulldogs’ cheer program, Girau said there will always be great memories associated with her teammates.

“I had the best two years ever with the best team — and friends — that I could have ever hoped for,” she said of her tenure and peers.

“They were my family and I will never forget my cheer coaches and those who I got to meet during this wonderful time in my life. It was truly an amazing experience.”

Additionally, Girau said she was especially thankful for her grandparents — Jerry and Diana Lee of Meadville — in supporting her decision to further her education at Southwest.