Notre Dame football players bust out dance moves
The men's sports teams dance to Gangnam Style during a Zumba class to benefit the cheerleaders at Notre Dame High School in Niles. The NDHS cheerleaders are raising money to go to the InterNational cheer competition in Florida. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 1, 2013 6:14AM
NILES — It wasn’t a typical Sunday morning for Tom Sora.
The football player who attends Notre Dame College Preparatory School in Niles and a bunch of his friends were working up a sweat, but not on the football field.
Sora participated in a Zumba dance class on Sunday, Feb. 24 at Notre Dame in order to help raise money for the Notre Dame College Preparatory School’s cheerleaders to go to Florida to compete in the upcoming InterNational Cheer Competition.
The team won first place at this competition for three consecutive years and took home second place last year.
“This year, we’re hoping to get back our title,” said Elsa Gomez, the cheer advisor for Notre Dame College Prep cheerleaders. The cheerleaders attend all-girls schools and come to the all-boys Catholic school in Niles to cheer at their sporting events.
“It was good,” said Sora, about the Zumba class that got a large crowd of cheerleaders, athletes and community members moving to high-energy Latin music. “It was interesting and different.”
Sora said Notre Dame College Prep cheerleaders do a lot to support the football and basketball teams throughout the year.
“We’ve got to pay them back somehow,” said Sora. He said that most of the guys weren’t used to dancing and it was fun to try a new form of exercise.
“It was awesome,” said Maria McAndrew, the mother of Alison McAndrew, who is the captain of the Notre Dame squad she has cheered on for four years, about the Zumba class.“I think it was a really fun opportunity to get the girls and boys together.”
“It’s nice having all the boys’ support,” said Alison.
McAndrew explained that for her and her daughter to go to the InterNationals in Florida it will cost about $3,000. Despite the expenses, McAndrew said that she will always support her daughter’s activities.
Gomez said that they held the Zumba class to help reduce the cost of the trip for parents.
“We’ve been really lucky with parents being committed and supportive,” said Gomez.
The Notre Dame College Prep cheerleaders attend Resurrection College Prep, Trinity High School and Regina Dominican.
“We cheer for all home football and basketball games,” said Gomez, who has been the cheer advisor for Notre Dame for five years.
The squad competes locally as well as out of state and practices two to three times per week. The junior varsity squad only participates in local competitions. In addition to cheering their team on, the girls participate in gymnastics, dance and stunting as part of the program.
In addition to learning routines, Elsa said the cheerleaders learn the essence of team work, commitment and pride. She said they learn good showmanship and how to be confident.
“We strive for that all year,” said Gomez.
Gomez said they recently held a parents night out fundraiser, and each year they hold a kiddie cheer camp for girls as young as five years old and as old as eighth grade, where the kids learn how to cheer and get the chance to cheer at the first home game.
Gomez said that in addition to going to InterNationals there are other expenses throughout the year as well.
“We love the program and we love the girls,” said Gomez, who said she appreciates all the support from the parents.
For McAndrew, the best part about cheerleading is the close relationships she has formed with the other cheerleaders and the coaches.
“The coaches are like our second moms,” said McAndrew.