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Former EWU dance team captain new Sunnyside rally squad advisor

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Newly hired Sunnyside High School rally squad advisor Kayla Monroe was encouraged by team members to take on her new role when Suzi Carpino resigned.

The young ladies on Sunnyside High School's rally squad earlier this year found themselves without an advisor because of the resignation of longtime coach Suzi Carpino.

Members of the team, however, knew English teacher Kayla Monroe was a captain of the dance team at Eastern Washington University. Because of that they asked her to become their new advisor.

Carpino was the coach for Sunnyside High School's rally squad for approximately 15 years.

Monroe's experience as an EWU Eagles dancer provides her with a background in many styles of dance and routines similar to those needed for cheerleading.

She began coaching the Sunnyside High School rally team at the end of the 2008-09 school year and has many new members with little experience.

"I am enthusiastic and happy for her and I am sure she is going to do a great job...she seems as though she will be a wonderful coach, bringing excitement to the team," said Carpino, stating she wishes Monroe much success.

"The job requires a lot of hard work and I am sure Kayla will do wonderfully," she added.

Monroe wants to help both those who are new to the team and those with more experience to sharpen and strengthen their skills.

"We didn't have much time to fundraise for camp, so I have hired two people to come in for a two-day intensive workshop to help the girls learn techniques," she explained.

One of the individuals, her sister, was a cheerleader and has experience with stunts. The other person also has cheerleading expertise.

The SHS rally team members were selected this past spring, before Monroe took the helm. She feels the young ladies with more experience will help guide the newer members as they train together throughout the summer.

"The girls selected the seasons they wanted to perform for before tryouts," explained Monroe, stating there are different members of the team who will be performing at different times of the year.

Training together, however, provides each member with a sense of unification and the opportunity to learn the different routines and stunts to be performed throughout the year.

Monroe wants to provide the team with a fresh take on many of the cheers that have been performed throughout the years. She said the team is working to create new choreography, as well as updating musical selections for routines that implement dance elements and stunts.

"I want to challenge the girls to do more....I want them to push themselves to add to their skills," she said, stating many routines have been similarly performed each year. With the approach of allowing the team to learn new skills and techniques, she hopes the cheers will become something the team can call their own.

As for her inspiration, she said she feels the time and energy she devotes to the team will help each member develop a sense of leadership, discipline and responsibility.

"I enjoy teaching," Monroe said, stating her experience as EWU dance team captain has provided her with the skills necessary to help the Sunnyside High School rally team.

When asked if the team will take part in any competitions this coming 2009-10 school year, she wants the team to become comfortable with the changes taking place.

"There is a lot to learn before the team will be ready," Monroe said.

In the meantime, she hopes to provide the team with opportunities to visit a competition as spectators. She thinks it will be beneficial for the members of the rally squad to observe the challenges and talent of other teams.

Ultimately, Monroe stated, she wants to help the team learn cheerleading is an athletic event that takes dedication and can provide them with skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.

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