Student Spotlight: Cara Holden

Sophia Luo, Staff Writer

With a bright smile on her face, sideline cheer captain Cara Holden ‘21 turns around to face a small crowd of parents that has gathered for the first football game since November. of 2020. Holden calls out a cheer, as she motions for her teammates to join in her  chant. As they wrap up their routine, Holden sheds a tear, as she’s finally back cheering with her teammates and closest friends. 

Like many students, Holden must balance a rigorous workload; she’s the captain of both varsity sideline cheer and competitive stunt cheer, an intern with All That Entertainment, a local based dance company, and the heavy workload of a senior student. In her limited free time, she hangs out with her friends and dances. Holden’s ability to manage an intense schedule is affirmed by her dedication and motivated mindset that came from years of ballet.

“I decided to become a cheerleader because I had a lot of dance experience, particularly in ballet, and wanted to join a fun, close-knit community at Miramonte, and one of my friends from ballet was doing cheer at the time and encouraged me to try out!” Holden said. Since freshman year, Holden has been on the sideline and competitive cheer teams multiple times. Nearly every year, the competitive cheer team went to national championships, which they couldn’t attend this year due to COVID-19.

Beginning her senior year without a cheer season was very difficult for Holden and her teammates. Many seniors struggled with starting the school year online, but the postponement and uncertainty of high school sports was very difficult to Holden’s disappointment. Though she and the rest of the cheerleading team still made efforts to maintain normalcy through the use of virtual resources such as Zoom, it wasn’t the final season Holden was expecting.

When the team discovered their season was finally starting, all cheerleaders, especially the seniors, were elated. At their first in person practice of the year, Holden and her friends were beaming and almost couldn’t resist wanting to jump into each other’s arms on the quad field. Holden was smiling through the entire session.

As cheer captain, Holden has several duties.Along with coach Cassandra Montgomery, Holden teaches the team many cheers and dances, enforces social distancing and relevant COVID-19 protocols when necessary, and leads the entire team into cheers and routines during games. She constantly corresponds with Montgomery and junior varsity captain Stella Symonds ‘23 outside of practice in order to keep the team up-to-date. 

“I frequently communicate with my team, organize team bonding activities and review sessions, film videos of myself doing cheers and dances to help my teammates learn, and come up with ways to help the team connect and support one another during this unique time,” Holden said. Through the first three semesters, Holden has made efforts to encourage and maintain the same close friendships that have derived from cheer in past years. She has organized Zoom meetings that simply involve games and chatting and even established in person bonding groups, and she still keeps the team on track.

The air of the football field is cold against her cheeks, but Holden doesn’t shiver. She smiles between her friends as they breathe in the familiarity they’d missed during the first semester. Gazing at her teammates back in their uniforms, Holden can’t help but feel absolutely delighted to be back. She begins another cheer and her friends join her once again, satisfied that they can still cheer during their final year at Miramonte.