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After over 40 years of service, Geri Demers is turning in her pom poms.
The Warriors’ Cheerleading coach will announce her retirement as head coach and mentor on Thursday, February 23 at the annual Warriors Football annual dinner dance event.
Growing up in the Yorkville section of Manhattan, Demers had a passion for dance and aspirations to become a gymnast, but never dreamed she would open a world for young cheerleaders in the Bronx.
Her role as coach of the Warriors’ cheerleading team stemmed from her involvement in her husband Jerry’s Warrior’s Football Club from 1965 to 1967.
One day while visiting her husband, who was coaching at the time, Demers noticed a few little girls watching from the sidelines and coaxed them into cheering the boys on alongside her.
After that game, every time Demers showed up at the park the girls would ask to cheer with her again.
And the rest is history.
Inspired by their enthusiasm and love of cheerleading, Demers decided she would start a program for all of the girls who wished to become cheerleaders.
Demers started by placing an ad in the newspaper calling for cheerleaders for her new program.
Demers’ goal was to prepare girls who planned to try out for their teams when they reached high school, as in so many high schools spots on teams were limited.
After placing the ad, Demers received interest from two elementary schools on City Island, St. Mary Star of the Sea and P.S. 175, and the program began with sixth, seventh and eighth grade girls.
Demers choreographed all of the routines and recruited volunteer coaches for the program as well.
By 1985 Demers expanded the program to offer cheerleading borough wide and accepted girls from the age of 5 and a half to 14 and organized six to eight squads with 22 to 25 girls on each.
Although it seemed like quite a large responsibility, amazingly the program Demers started was staffed entirely by volunteers.
In addition to cheering for the Warriors’ Football Club, the girls also march in all of the parades, Veterans Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and Columbus Day, participate in special games such as the Friendship Bowl, and also compete in many competitions.
The veteran coach has encouraged countless girls over the past 40 years to do the best they can because that is what matters, and she has never been disappointed in them, win or lose.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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