Jackson, the daughter of Michael and Ramona Jackson of Patterson, who cheers on the competitive squad USA Dream Team, participated at the event that brought together the largest gathering of international cheerleading groups ever assembled for competition. National teams representing more than 80 countries vied for the title.
“It is extremely rewarding to know that all of my hard work and dedication have given me the tools to be selected to cheer alongside the very best this country has,” Jackson said.
The 2008 Patterson High graduate attends University of Memphis in Tennessee where she cheers on the school’s coed squad. She plans to complete her bachelor’s degree in child development this August.
“The road to choosing this major started when I realized how well I can talk to children when teaching cheerleading and gymnastics,” Jackson said. “When I started taking courses in psychology and sociology, I really noticed that it all came easy to me and I became really interested.”
In 2013, the 22-year-old has taken top honors in every competition in which she’s participated.
In January, Jackson helped her University of Memphis coed team take first place in the Universal Cheerleaders Association College Cheerleading Nationals in Orlando. She also grabbed the silver medal in the UCA College Cheerleading Nationals coed partner stunts, missing gold in the competition by less than one point.
On April 13, Jackson and her teammates added top honors in the National Cheerleaders Association College Cheerleading Nationals coed partner stunts competition in Daytona, Fla.
All that success led to an invitation to appear on The Learning Channel’s reality-TV show “Cheer Perfection”, which depicts the competitive world of cheerleading and takes viewers behind the scenes of the sport.
Jackson said the episode should air this August.
“It was very different being on a TV show and filming for it,” Jackson said. “Cameras were everywhere and would come close up to you in action, while talking, or just watching the cheer campers. It was an awesome and fun experience.”
Despite her busy schedule, Jackson still finds time to dabble as a writer. She has penned several articles for The Cheer Leader Magazine.
“I send pictures and write articles about my favorite cheer moments, giving specific teammates the spotlight for their hard work, and the team’s overall success,” Jackson said.
Her family continues to be a huge source of support and encouragement, Jackson said. Wherever she has gone, she’s found familiar faces backing her every move.
“I honestly cannot express how much my family has played a role in my success. They are the most amazing people in my life,” Jackson said.
She especially hails the support of her mother Ramona for her rise to the highest level of competition in cheerleading.
“She is the reason why I have had these amazing opportunities,” Jackson said. “She has been my support system when I thought I had no one else.”
Jackson encourages other athletes of the sport to continue to improve their skills and maybe one day reach cheerleading’s highest level.
“Don’t ever give up. Even though some people may think this isn’t a sport, there are things associated with cheerleading that most other athletes cannot do,” Jackson said. “You can always get better, you can always learn skills in different ways of technique, and you can always keep pushing yourself.”
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or email@example.com.