You might have heard about the student from Tahquitz High School, CJ Hawkins, who broke the barriers and negative stigma around male cheerleaders on campus. Well, he is back with some exciting news! On Sunday, May 7th, he found out he made the University of Kentucky cheer team, which is the best college in the country for the sport.
Due to the school’s elite stature, he was invited to try out for the University of Kentucky’s cheer team. He spent two weeks at a cheer clinic where he was asked to cheer, tumble, and stunt for a panel of judges. After each practice, a coach would hang a paper with the people who had been cut that day; if you had not been cut then you would report to practice the following day. Each day, CJ would walk over to the piece of paper, with his anxiety level reaching a peak, and breathe a sigh of relief when he realized he was moving on. As the end of the final day approached, and he took the anxiety filled walk to the final piece of paper with the cuts on it, he was finally able to celebrate.
In addition to the tryout clinic, CJ was able to tour the Engineering department and meet a variety of professors and faculty members. CJ plans on majoring in Biochemical Engineering. Since he made the cheer team, he has received a scholarship from the school that will pay for half of his tuition. CJ said he has always been excited at the prospect of attending the University of Kentucky. However, after his visit, he is downright thrilled. “I’m happy to be a part of a campus that is focused on bettering themselves both athletically and academically,” said CJ.
In order to recognize CJ’s accomplishments, a signing event was held for him. The school’s Athletic Director Mike Sims opened the event by pointing at championship banners and saying, “All of these banners around the room have brought us to this point.” He thanked the team as a whole for the culture they bring to the school, and thanked CJ for his determination and congratulated him on becoming the school’s first student to receive a scholarship for cheerleading.
CJ said he is happy to be able to show his fellow male teammates what is possible. Not only is he able to continue to compete in a sport that he loves, but he was able to get a scholarship to pursue his educational dreams as well.
Congratulations on your bright future CJ Hawkins! Thank you for positively representing Hemet Unified and don’t forget to always show that Titan PRIDE!