New cheer coach strives to improve spirit

Kara Jankowski, 21, has been hired by P.E. Athletic Director Patrick Smith as Carlmont High School’s new cheerleading coach for the 2012-2013 school year.

Due to former cheerleading coach Jelica Baker’s resignation, Smith used cheerleading websites and other cheerleading connections to search for a qualified candidate to fill the position. What he came across was a former cheerleader for the Oakland Raiders with “amazing organization skills,” and who is a “wonderful communicator,” said Smith.

According to Smith, there were three applicants for the coaching position, however with the background and skills that Jankowski possesses she was the most promising choice for Carlmont.

Jankowski not only has the skills necessary to coach a successful team, but she also has the ability to encourage and motivate her team through positive means. Smith divulged that throughout the team’s summer workouts Jankowski sent out weekly emails announcing the practice player who demonstrated significant improvement or dedication and also included words of encouragement to the entire team.

The coach herself went through difficult times. She grew up in the Bay Area and is a faithful San Francisco 49er fan. She originally tried out to be a part of the San Francisco 49ers Gold Rush team, but unfortunately, she did not make the cuts.

Despite the disappointment, Jankowski says she always encourages her girls to go to multiple tryouts, and that is exactly what she did.
Since the Raiderettes are typically more difficult to join than the Gold Rush team, she went to the tryouts for experience and was pleasantly surprised when the Raider officials expressed that they would like her on the 2010 team.

Jankowski says it was an amazing experience and she learned a lot. Despite the amount of happiness the experience and skills she gained while cheering for the Oakland Raiders gave her, “it was a change I needed to get used to,” Jankowski told the Highlander, referring to her love for the 49ers.

Although it didn’t work out for Jankowski, her unique experience will surely benefit the Scots cheerleaders, giving them a first-hand insight into the world of professional cheerleading.

The team’s short-term goals this season will be football games and assemblies. Once basketball season approaches, Jankowski says, they will also prepare for those games as well. The plan is to “rebuild little by little,” said Jankowski, and hopefully by the time the team leaves for the Sequoia Competition at Sequoia High School they will be prepared.

The school seems to believe the new coaching change will benefit the team. In a poll distributed to 100 Carlmont Scots, 73 students said that they believe the new coach will be very helpful to the improvement of the team.

Michelle Oliva, a cheer veteran at Carlmont, also has the same sentiments. Oliva said, “Coach K is amazing. She really wants to make this fun for us. She listens to our ideas and is even having us choreograph our own dances. She’s really trying to bring back school spirit to Carlmont and she’s definitely going to give the Carlmont cheer team a better name.”

With 72 percent of the school viewing the cheer team as a contributor to school spirit, many are looking forward to both an amazing season and seeing how the team will progress.