Cheerleaders from Laurel honored at meeting

The Laurel competitive cheerleading team was the February Pride and Promise recipient.

The Laurel High School competitive cheerleading team recently placed sixth in the national competition, so it was only fitting Tuesday’s school board meeting included a cheer.

The 27 team members, coaches and parents filed into the Laurel board meeting room to accept the school’s February Pride & Promise award. But not before the group led the board in an L-A-U-R-E-L callback cheer.

“I don’t know what’s going on around here in Laurel,” Superintendent Leonard Rich said. “When I grew up and coming back (to Laurel), all I heard about was boys football and boys football. How about these girls?”

Rich noted after the cheer squad won the WPIAL competition earlier this year, it was the third District 7 championship by a girls team in the last three years. The Lady Spartans softball team is the two-time defending Class 2A softball champions. 

Cheer coach Jenn Horodyski, an eighth-grade science teacher in the district, said the team’s competitive season starts in May and runs through February. The team had three first-place finishes at competitions, including at the WPIAL championship meet, before placing seventh at the state meet and sixth in nationals. The team competes in the large varsity division, which based off their roster size, not school size. 

“These girls beat incredible odds in their sport and I think that’s a reflection of the kind of athletes they are,” Horodyski said. 

Rich said the girls are positive role models for the younger girls in the school district.

“What I must say about these girls is that not only are you cheerleaders in the given arena, but you’re cheerleaders in the hallway,” Rich said. “Many of you I meet and greet. You always have a smile and you always have a greeting and you’re always great ambassadors for the Laurel School District. They must have learned that somewhere. Mom and dads, I thank you not only for raising these fine athletes — and this is competitive spirit, I might add — but more importantly, thank you, mom and dad, for raising fine, young female role models for all the little girls to aspire to.”

In other business during the 44-minute meeting, the board approved monthly payments, advertise for bid purchases for the 2020-21 school year and approve the 2020-21 calendar, which will be added to the website soon all by unanimous 7-0 votes. Board members James McGee and Kevin Patterson were excused from the meeting. Jeff Hammerschmidt made a motion for an executive session at the end of the meeting to discuss personnel. 

The board also approved:

•Resignation of aide Brenda Shiderly.

•Additions to volunteer and non-instructional substitute listings

•Jessica Neofotistos to attend a special education conference in Hershey at a cost to the district of $797.46. 

•Lori Dado to attend a conference in Pittsburgh at a cost of $1,234.63 to be paid with ACCESS funds. 

•Dado and Kara McGee to attend a school nurse conference in Pittsburgh at a cost of $818. 

•Advertise and accept bids for the sale of a 1997 Ford F250 pickup truck 460 with a Western snow plow and three double-stacked Wolf convection ovens.

•The middle school course selection guide for the 2020-21 school year.

•Several activities and field trips, including Jacob Holzhauser and students to start a plastic bottle recycling program in the district. 

Digital editor

Pete Sirianni is the News' digital editor. Previously, he worked at The Bradford (Pa.) Era. Sirianni is a 2016 IUP graduate, earning a degree in journalism and public relations. Contact him at or on Twitter at @PeterSirianni.

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