Players, parents, and teachers look to coaches to instill good work ethics and morals in the players they have under their guidance. Everyone knows teenage girls have many emotions and it’s a given that softball and volleyball coaches have remarkable skills to keep everyone focused, hormones and emotions intact. This year, Marianna High School chose a path a little out of the ordinary when they were faced with the challenge of looking for not one, but two cheerleading coaches. What better decision than two former die-hard Bulldog cheerleaders who gave it all through four years at MHS.
Chelsea Blanton and Jordan Exum Moore joined the Bulldog coaching ranks with Blanton taking over for varsity and Moore taking over the junior varsity. The news traveled fast in the cheerleader world and the applause started in eager anticipation of the year to come. Blanton is a 2010 graduate of Marianna High School. While attending MHS Chelsea was a cheerleader all four years and had the privilege of being captain her senior year. After graduation, she continued cheering at Chipola College for two years. She went on to receive her BS degree in Professional Communications from Florida State University- Panama City in 2014. She presently works for Signature Health.
Moore is a 2010 graduate of Marianna High School who cheered throughout her middle school and high school years. Following graduation, Jordan continued her cheer career at Chipola College. After graduation from Chipola, Jordan opened “Infinity Cheer Company” which is located in Commercial Park in Marianna. Jordan is married to Bryan Moore; they have three children Maddie, Will and Wes.
Janie Nolen was one of the first to express her excitement over these two life-long friends who would not share another common bond, “I taught both of these girls in first grade. They were full of energy and of course very talkative. In class they were always doing cheers and outside flipping and jumping around. Big bows were always in their hair and they were dressed like little dolls. Fast forward to now. I’m so proud of each for the accomplishments they have each made. They have both worked with my grand girls and they are super with kids. My heart just swells to see these girls doing so well. I love that they still have a smile and a hug for their old teacher. Just makes my day!”
Marianna High teacher and former cheer coach Debbie Dryden was equally excited, “Chelsea and Jordan were Student Government officers for me when they were in school but when I started coaching cheer, they stepped up to help me any time I asked. I am so happy to have them return to MHS as cheer coaches. They know the traditions and will bring their own pride back to the sidelines.”
Allie Hinson has worked with Moore at Infinity for six years, “Working by Jordan’s side for the past six years has been so eye opening to me. She always encourages the girls and keeps them determined. She cares for all the girls at the gym and pushes them to do their very best. I love working with her because she shows me the best way to help others when they need it.”
Teachers often have respect of their peers but what is unique and signifies a great teacher is to have the respect of her fellow teachers/coaches AND those they are ‘teaching’. I talked with two varsity and two junior varsity cheerleaders who are presently under the duo’s leadership. They asked to remain anonymous because they did not want to be labeled teacher’s pet. A senior cheerleader was all smiles when asked about what she thought of Blanton, “She’s just awesome. I mean she’s hard but it’s like she does the stuff she makes us do and she shows us how much better we will be. It’s going to be a really good year.”
Another cheerleader considered not cheering this year because she wanted to be on an exceptional squad and wasn’t sure she would be, “I just got tired of the mess last year and thought about just not cheering. Then I heard there were some changes and each year you lose some and gain some cheerers so I thought I’ll try it another year. I am so glad I did because it’s fantastic. I mean she works our tail off but it’s like you can see how much she loves it so you want to work hard to be as good as she is.”
When asked about Moore, a freshman cheerleader was all smiles, “She is the best ever, she knows so much and she tells us how great we are doing. Practice isn’t even like hard or anything because she makes you feel so good about what you do.”
The final cheerleader we talked with couldn’t say enough, “This has been a great season so far and we have barely started. Practice is like super and we learn so much and I feel really good about this year. I didn’t really know what to expect when I got to the high school and was kind of nervous but man, she made it so much better than I ever had thought it’d be. I think our squad is going to do really good because hers was so good in school and she wants us to be just that good.”
Like I said, it takes a special person, a special personality, and a love like no other of the ‘subject’ you teach. It appears Marianna High School has found the magic formula in Blanton and Moore.