Farragut cheerleading worth the cost to families

Part 1, two-school series

High school cheerleading isn’t cheap on the pocket book.

Farragut High School cheerleading Capt. Camille Phillipy said she and her parents have spent hundreds of dollars on cheerleading, from the rental fees for the uniforms to travel expenses, tumbling lessons and competition fees.

The girls even buy candy and water for the football and basketball players.

Phillipy said her family has paid out about $900 a year for tumbling lessons.

“We also will take stunting classes and privately coached classes with former cheerleaders from The University of Tennessee to get an evaluation of ourselves,” she said.

”Most of the girls have done training prior to their becoming a cheerleader,” Mollie Townley, Farragut High School cheerleading coach, said. “I have girls who go to cheerleading gyms in Knox County, and we have gone in the past to Premier Athletics.”

That training was paid for with fundraisers or from the girls’ parents, Townley said. It costs about $30 a month, and the girls usually go about once a week.

Townley said funds for uniforms and competitions are paid for from fundraisers.

Last year, the FHS squad went to the nationals in Orlando, Fla., and the girls competed in state competitions. The first-day registration fee is $10 per girl, and Townley has 17 girls.

To raise money, Phillipy said every year the Farragut squad holds a junior cheer camp for younger girls, teaching cheers and dances.

“We have a performance for their parents to show what they’ve learned during the week,” she said.

The squad also hosts the homecoming dance, which is its biggest fundraiser, and a pancake breakfast.

Phillipy said the cheerleaders pay a rental fee each year to use their uniform.

“The uniforms are property of Knox County Schools, and the girls don’t have to pay for those,” Townley said. “We keep a uniform for quite a few years.”

FHS cheerleaders are responsible to pay for their shoes, practice and camp gear, warm-up outfits, bows, backpacks or bags and the long-sleeve undergarment that goes under the uniform. They pay dues.

“This year [the dues is $250],” Townley said. “That covers camp, clothing, pom poms, bows. It helps provide a buffer on costs.”

Next week a look at Hardin Valley Academy cheerleading challenges.