Vikettes and cheerleading celebrate senior day

Nick Gainey

The Augustana Vikettes dance team and the cheerleading squad both celebrated senior day on Nov. 6, at the final home football game against Elmhurst. The seniors from both squads, along with their families, were honored for their contributions to their teams and the school as a whole. The day was bittersweet, as this was the last time the groups would perform at a football game.

“It was an exciting day, but also a sad one, because I knew it would be the last football game I would ever perform at,” senior Vikette Jordan Bartels said. “I was adding pressure to myself because I wanted the last time to be one of the best times.”

For many of the seniors, they have dedicated their entire college career to their squads. Despite the many hours of practice and performances, four years flew by.

“It was a very surreal day because I had a clear image of senior day three years ago when I was just a first-year, and it seemed like it went by really fast,” Bartels said. “But overall it was nice to have one more routine with the three teammates who have been on the team with me since day one.”

Like most athletic teams, the seniors have a significant impact on their respective teams. They serve as leaders and mentors, and help the underclassmen develop so that they may become the leaders themselves one day.

“As someone who just joined the squad this year, I can already see how the seniors have created a very inclusive and fun environment,” junior cheerleader Tatum Higgs said. “Practices and games are full of energy and the captains are highly encouraging of every single member of the squad. The seniors have definitely left their mark on this group.”

Since the teams are tight-knit, the underclassmen have a hard time saying goodbye to the departing seniors. But they are grateful for the wisdom and guidance they provided. Fortunately, both groups will continue to perform at home basketball games this winter.

“Senior day was sad, but we have a whole basketball season ahead of us, so we weren’t saying any big goodbyes just yet,” freshman Vikette Reagan McDonald said.

Events such as senior day serve as a time of reflection for graduating seniors. They look back on the past, cherish the good memories, and think about how they have developed as people during their time at Augustana.

“Being part of the cheer team has impacted my time at Augie because it has kept me involved on campus and extended the number of people I have met,” senior cheerleader Emma Gannaway said. “Cheer at Augie has developed me as a person by improving my teamwork, social, and leadership skills throughout the past four years.”

Many seniors have hopes that their teams will continue to thrive after their graduation. They hope they have instilled positive values in their underclassmen teammates.

“The lasting impacts that I and the other seniors want to leave on the underclassmen are a positive attitude, excitement about the cheer program at Augie, and personal growth,” Gannaway said. “We want to help build the Augie spirit and grow the interest in the cheer team. All of us want the cheer team to continue to be a positive and fun environment.”