"CBA, BURGUNDY, GOLD!" could always be heard ringing throughout the hallways and in the gym the loudest from the leader of Clayton-Bradley Academy Cheer, Melissa Dovey. She was the inaugural coach for CBA, getting the program started in the 2017 season and has done an incredible job leading the way ever since. At the conclusion of this past season she announced that she will be moving on from being the cheer coach at CBA.
Coach Dovey shared her thoughts on her time leading the cheer program, "I was in the foyer of the gym in 2017 and noticed a basketball practice going on. I said to Josh Counts, the AD at the time - 'We have a basketball team?' He said 'Yes' - and my next question was 'Where are the Cheerleaders?' he said 'We don't have any', my response was 'Oh yes we do!' So I sent out an email to anyone in 6th - 12th grade that was interested in cheer. We had 7 young ladies that signed up: Abbey Dovey 12th grade , Rachael Mendez 10th grade, Piper Greene, Layla Bowman, Ava Graves, Liam Garris - 7th grade and Emily Terry -6th grade. Since the season had already started, we didn't have time to order proper uniforms - so we got some stock black and white with gold trim, no lettering on the front and Burgundy and gold stock poms. I found an old list of cheers and chants I had on my computer and we went to work. The girls learned quickly and we jumped right in and had a great start. We cheered for Middle and High school home games since there weren't enough girls to split into 2 teams.
Since then we have ordered really sharp looking uniforms, split into 2 teams one for Middle school and one for High School, went to camp, earned Awards, a spirit stick, All-American cheerleader titles, and worked really hard each year to improve. We even had our first male cheerleader for part of the season - Ben Ebel joined half way through his senior year in the 2019-2020 season.
Doing any sport in a small school is difficult. You only have so many students to pull from and you need to be flexible as a coach to give the students every opportunity they can have. Cheer has been a challenge at times - with no space to practice, girls involved in the musical that took them away from practices and games, outside commitments (dance, travel volleyball, etc.), but when it comes time to work - the girls rose to the challenge and always performed really well! We have had weekend practices, working sleepovers at my house, movie night, Christmas parties, summer camp, and a million memories. I am so thankful for all that the parents helped with and let their girls be a part of with us.
I hope I was able to set a good foundation for them to build on and look forward to hearing all the things these amazing young ladies will accomplish."
Some of the cheerleaders and leaders of the school wanted to share their thoughts on the great Coach Melissa Dovey. Samantha Cheek, who joined cheer for her senior year and became team captain, shared, "Coach Dovey never fails to create a fun-filled environment for everyone around her. The legacy she will leave behind with the CBA cheer teams is undeniably valuable to the entire athletics program." The one cheerleader that has been with Coach Dovey since the first year, Emily Terry, described her coach, "She was always willing to try new cheers and dance routines that girls brought her or that she saw and wanted us to do. She made everyone that came out for cheer feel welcome. She was really good at always keeping everyone's energy up. I love Coach Dovey and will miss her."
Middle School Captain Eve Hutchinson glowed about her coach, "When I think of Coach Dovey the first thing that comes to mind is compassion. She literally fulfills the definition of what that word means. Whenever our team came across a problem Coach Dovey was the first to ask what was wrong and she helped us fix it. The best thing we could ask for was having a compassionate coach and a mentor that not only helped us grow in our cheerleading skills, but also helped us grow as strong, successful women. One of my favorite memories with Coach Dovey was in my first year when she had the team over to her house to get to know each other. While doing team building exercises, learning cheers and spilling glow sticks all over the driveway, I quickly learned that Coach Dovey made our team a family. I immediately felt at home with her and the girls and I knew cheer was going to be my favorite activity."
Upper School Principal, Brad Rasmussen, shared his thoughts, "Coach Dovey epitomizes the CBA Blazer Spirit! Her boundless enthusiasm, relentless spirit, and endless compassion have created the perfect environment to spearhead the CBA cheer program. Her dedication to the sport and to the student athletes propelled the program forward and we will always be grateful for the foundation she built. Thank you Coach Dovey!"
Cheer coaches can have a couple of different stigmas about them: mean, tactical, loving or just someone who is over the team. Coach Dovey, as you can see in the picture, is someone who makes sure that her girls, and guys, look good, do their best and that she is out of the way. Her style of coaching could be descirbed as: detailed, energetic and inclusive. This picture is the best example of what kind of coach she was, for a couple of different reasons. One, notice how the girls are perfectly matched. From shoes, to socks, to uniforms, to pom poms, to hair, to bows, to masks. Secondly, notice the crutches on the ground. One of the 7th grade cheerleaders had recently broken her leg. Coach Dovey kept this young lady involved in everything they were still doing. She cheered in her wheelchair and they pushed the young lady around to be a part of performances even! This picture is for team picture day. Coach Dovey is hiding behind this young lady, helping hold her up.
Athletic Director Grant Redmond said, "When I saw that happening I just had to grab a picture of the moment. It is one of the greatest coaching pictures that we have ever had here at CBA. Melissa was the perfect example of what we want leading our students. Everything that Melissa did was for the girls and those who attended events to have a great experience. She made everything and everyone happier that she was around. She made and enhanced multiple items on her own for the girls to use. She was innovative in what cheers and dances they did, as well as helping set up special athletic events. Our Cheer program and athletic department would not be where it is today without her. I am so thankful for everything that she did and was for us."
Coach Melissa Dovey will definitely be missed. CBA will love you forever!