Blast from the past; Updates from Wilson cheer alumni

Talya Lehrich

Wilson Cheer Alumni Shaniya Spriggs and Cheyenne Smallwood, class of 2017, share their experiences and words of wisdom to current and future Wilson cheerleaders.


Q: Where has life taken you after Wilson?

Spriggs: I am currently a junior at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. I am majoring in psychology with a concentration in mental health. 

Smallwood: I am now a junior at Virginia State University, majoring in history. I’m also the special assistant to the advisor in my department (History Department). I plan to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in history and get my master’s in education and become a history teacher… I am no longer that careless teenager hanging out in the atrium, getting by in school. I put my all into school and make time to get the experience needed to help me get a job once I graduate.


Q: How has cheer impacted your life?

Spriggs: Cheerleading at Wilson has brought me sisters that I will have for life and that is the greatest blessing I could ever ask for. Through my sisters, I have learned loyalty and loyalty is forever. 

Smallwood: I’ve been cheering on and off since I was five years old. Cheering at Wilson was way different from what I was used to. I had never done sideline cheerleading before, only competitive. The bond me and my sisters had and still have today is what sticks with me the most. We weren’t just a team, we are friends, sisters, confidants, and we have each other’s back at all times. When I began cheering, my GPA went up and I was no longer ripping and running around the city doing things that would prevent me from reaching my full potential. I wouldn’t be who I am today if I missed out on those tryouts. It has made me a better person.


Q: What advice would you give to a current cheerleader?

Spriggs: I would tell the current cheerleaders to enjoy it and live in the moment and to win!

Smallwood: To the current Lady Tigers: never ever give up. When things aren’t looking up keep pushing and stay motivated. You are all sisters. It is very important that there is a bond. I’ve cheered on teams that lacked a bond and trust me, it makes a world of a difference. You may not always see eye to eye but be respectful to one another. Be the best team you can be.


Q: Have you done anything cheer related after Wilson? 

Smallwood: I haven’t done anything cheer related since I’ve attended Wilson. I miss cheering though I do plan to be a cheer coach after I graduate and return home. It should be fun, maybe I’ll coach at Wilson and pick up where I left off.