Gator cheer squads help Littlewood pump up students for learning

Littlewood Elementary School kindergarteners watch University of Florida cheerleaders and dazzlers during a school pep rally Friday.

Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Friday, August 29, 2014 at 5:17 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, August 29, 2014 at 5:17 p.m.

University of Florida cheerleaders and the Dazzlers on Friday practiced riling up the crowd at Littlewood Elementary, before stepping into the Swamp on Saturday for the first football game of the season.

Members of the cheer and dance teams made their way to Littlewood for the school's first back-to-school pep rally.

P.E. coach Bevon James said the pep rally was supposed to get students excited about learning and show them school can be fun.

James led the charge, yelling into the megaphone after students had filed into the pavilion at the front of the field.

“When I say Littlewood, you say Lions!”

Principal Jen Homard came behind him, asking students to show her their best roar.

“Rrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” the students roared back.

Then, the cheerleaders and dancers led the students in a couple of chants.

“Let's go Lions, let's go! Let's go Lions, let's go!”

Orange and blue pom-poms glinted in the afternoon sun as the women waved them back and forth, thrust them into the air and shook them together.

Leo the Lion, the school's pint-sized mascot, danced on the sidelines in a green Littlewood T-shirt.

“G-O, go Lions go! G-O, go Lions go!”

Getting back to the main message, teachers filed out to the front of the pavilion, holding painted signs highlighting some of the things they want their students to keep in mind this year.

“Give me an F! Give me an O!” shouted Homard, pointing to a sign that read “Focus.”

Next was “Respect,” then “Try Your Best,” “Never Give Up” and “Believe in Yourself.”

As the school anthem started up, the teachers flipped the five signs and revealed a glittery letter on the back of each.

“L-I-O-N-S, Lions!”

Littlewood put on two pep rallies Friday, one for the kindergarten, first- and second-grade classes, and one for the third- through fifth-grade classes.

James said it seemed to go over well with the students.

“We'll probably come back and do it again,” he said.

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