RBA charter schools win NINTH national cheerleading championship!
December 14, 2016– A Leland cheerleading program has won its NINTH national championship since 2011.
This weekend, The Roger Bacon Academy Vikings Pop Warner program sent five squads to national competition in Orlando, FL. With five squads competing in different divisions, the program earned two 1st place national titles, one 2nd place national title, one 4th place national title, and one 5th place national title. The program also earned two national “Spirit of Sport” awards—the competition’s “Miss Congeniality” equivalent—as well as an award for the highest jump score. Broadcast on ESPN 3, the national competition included approximately 330 squads across various divisions.
These champion squads are comprised of K-8 students from public charter schools managed by Leland-based company, The Roger Bacon Academy, Inc. (RBA). Because charter schools do not receive funding for athletic programs, the company sponsors cheerleading and football teams for its client schools, which include Charter Day School in Leland, South Brunswick Charter School in Southport, Columbus Charter School in Whiteville, and Douglass Academy in Wilmington. 165 students participate in the RBA cheerleading program.
An overview of each squad’s achievements is included below:
Varsity, Level 4 – Charter Day School and Columbus Charter School
1st place National Champion, Highest Jump Score
Jr. Pee Wee, Level 4 – Charter Day School, Columbus Charter School, South Brunswick Charter
1st place National Champion, 1st Runner-up in first-ever Skill Games
Pee Wee, Level 4 – Charter Day School
2nd place National Title
Jr. Varsity – Columbus Charter School
5th place National Title, National Spirit of Sport Award- Level 3
Jr. Pee Wee –Charter Day School and Columbus Charter School
4th place National Title, National Spirit of Sport Award- Level 1
The common denominator for the program’s success is Head Coach, Jean Lafave. Lafave started the program at Charter Day School in 2005 and expanded the program in 2014 to include Columbus Charter School students. In 2016, Lafave expanded the program to include South Brunswick Charter School students, who earned a 1st place national championship in their first year of competition. Since 2011, Lafave’s squads have earned nine 1st place national championships and numerous top-five national titles.
Individually, Lafave was named Pop Warner’s 2016 Volunteer of the Year for the Mid-South Region. An unpaid volunteer, Lafave leads both programs with the support of volunteer assistant coaches—one of whom includes her daughter, Abby, an alumna of a former national champion squad.
Jean Lafave states, “Unlike other teams, we have never had a gym. Our 165 girls practice in the heat, the cold, and the rain. Our athletes do not come from all-star gyms and our coaches have no previous coaching experience, as they are simply moms and dads who want to spend extra time with their daughters. Many of our families fundraise all season to make it to this competition. We write our own choreography—my daughter Abby and I—at the dinner table or during family time. Our athletes’ hard work and dedication shines through despite all of these circumstances.”
Assistant Coach, Abby Lafave, offered, “During my eight years as an RBA Viking Cheerleader at Charter Day School, not only did I meet lots of friends and participate in a sport that I love, I earned over $4,500.00 in scholastic scholarships.”
RBA President, Baker Mitchell offered his congratulations to the squads, stating, “I am so proud of these student athletes who dedicate themselves to excellence. It is hard to imagine the discipline and dedication of these young women to consistently achieve national rank in their sport while also working hard in the classroom. These young women have proven to themselves and to all watching that hard work can accomplish any goal.”
In addition to a national champion cheer program, the two K-5 and two K-8 schools in the RBA family offer a classical curriculum and are frequently their area’s highest-scoring schools on End-of-Grade tests. All campuses are tuition-free and welcome any student, regardless of address, income, or ability. Open enrollment for the 2017-2018 school year will run January 1-31, 2016. To enroll online or learn more, please visit www.rogerbacon.net/enroll.