MARK C. BROW
Every child has a hero. Some look up to their fathers. Some look up to tough cartoon characters. But for some local elementary students, the heroes are BYU cheerleaders.
Red Ribbon Week, an annual tradition geared towards teaching children how to stay away from drugs and other harmful substances, was held Monday through today at local elementary schools. The theme of this year’s campaign was “Hot to Not,” and a few schools thought it would be a great idea to have the high-profile BYU students help with the promotion of physical and mental health.
“We’ve been doing it for a few years. Elementary and junior high schools call, and they want us to help them with their programs,” said Scott Wakefield, student-athlete relations coordinator and advisor for the Cheer Squad. “We split into groups, and then we go and do a skit and a few other things. The kids get really into it.”
Wakefield, who was on the Cheer Squad in 1990 and 1991, said that the cheerleaders put on a skit to show how things on the outside can look different from things on the inside.
“We go up there and ask for a volunteer. Usually, the one who wants to do it is some macho 6th grader that is looking to impress the girls,” Wakefield said. “We have a caramel ball there that looks like an apple and, when he takes a bite into it, he finds out that it is actually an onion. It helps us to show the kids that drugs may look good on the outside, but they are very bad on the inside.”
In addition to the skit, the cheerleaders do their usual routine, which includes cheering on the audience by doing flips and somersaults. Cosmo, the ultimate crowd pleaser, also helps out at each school.