The Student News Site of East Lansing High School


The Student News Site of East Lansing High School


The Student News Site of East Lansing High School


Cheering on the new year

Dana Graham hired as the new varsity cheer coach

Hired only two weeks before tryouts, Dana Graham became the new Varsity Cheer coach at ELHS. Having over 30 years of experience combined with both cheer and coaching, Graham is fully prepared for the challenges this year may bring.

“I was a cheerleader in high school, then started assistant coaching, [head] coaching, and judging competitive cheer,” Graham said. “As a head coach, I have about a decade of experience.”

Previous coach of three years, Klaudia Burton, who is also the Director of Equity and Social Justice, stepped down from her role as cheer coach to focus on her doctoral program. Graham had already been the team by organizing fundraisers. Once it became known that Burton would no longer be coaching the East Lansing cheer team, Graham stepped up to apply.

It became clear to Graham that Burton was probably going to be stepping down, and the varsity job was going to be open. “So, I decided to apply and I went through the interview process with four athletes, three parents, and the athletic director and they picked me.”

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On July 19, athletes who were on the committee like Dasha Napolov (11), along with other participants, were given the candidate’s resume as well as questions that were going to be asked during the interview. After the interview concluded, the participants created a series of pros and cons based on the notes they took during the interviews.

It was exciting since I got a look at who might be my next coach,” Napolov said. “It was also pretty cool to see how the hiring process worked.”

While cheerleaders like Alicia Silva (12), who is returning for her third season this year, will face the challenge of getting to know a new coach. 

I think this season will be completely different from our last season,” Silva said. “I’m not sure what to expect, but I hope it goes good.”

With hopes to build community spirit through cheerleading, and  having forty students between the varsity and JV teams, Graham has plenty of ideas to turn her plans into reality. She intends to collaborate with the new student section leadership group to increase student interaction during games.

“We’re going to do some work with them [leadership group] and hopefully add new fun things like spirit flags and new crowd interaction type stuff,” Graham said. “So really, what we will be focusing on in both Varsity and JV is how to get the crowd involved at football games, and put on a good show. Build some community spirit.” 

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About the Contributor
Joelle King, Photography Editor
Joelle King is in the class of 2025 and is a Photography Editor for Portrait.  This is her second year on staff as a junior.  Joelle's favorite thing about journalism is telling stories through video. When she is not in the newsroom, Joelle loves competitive dancing and reading.

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