GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Before you get to college or even high school – middle school is a time in your life that molds people into who they are.

Allen Middle School in Greensboro takes that responsibility very seriously and is putting extra effort into making sure their students are ready for the real world.      

“The theme for Allen Middle School this year is hope having only positive expectations,” AMS athletic director Jana Bethea explained. “So our main focus and our goal is to expose all of our students to what’s outside of middle school and high school so they can get ready and prepared or even excited for college”

That hope rings louder than the cheers of the twelve young ladies on the sidelines at Allen Middle School. 

“College and career readiness is first and foremost and upfront for Allen Middle School, as well as the cheerleading team,” cheerleading coach Iris Miller mentioned. “It goes beyond the classroom and cheerleading. community helps us as well.”

The Allen Middle cheer team emphasizes providing experiences that will give their athletes all the tools they need to prepare for their next step. 

“We go on field trips to different college campuses, we toured the college campuses, they’re exposed to college curriculum, in a sense, as far as the vernacular and the rigor of classes as well,” Miller said.

“Your school is your second family you spend just as much time with us,” Bethea added. “So yeah, I just want to give back to them. And just let them know we got your back and there’s something else out there for you. Even if you don’t see it – we do.”

A second family that knows this time in these cheerleaders’ lives is where the future begins. 

“This is a very pivotal and important time in their lives,” Miller explained. “So, myself and my assistant coach work, we tell them their caterpillars, and they’re going to metamorphosis of a butterfly.”

“I think middle school is probably one of the hardest levels because we are catching them at the moment where they’re trying to find themselves,” Bethea said. “They are still learning, but we are able to mold them and to help and assist them and when necessary.”

That’s why the team got to take a trip to Duke earlier this year – where they had a chance to see the campus and cheer on the sidelines with the Blue Devils.

“It was like a whole castle and I was like wow, Duke is like really big,” cheerleader Talayah Doomes remembered. “And I just liked how like, you know, it looked like a little castle and it was like a big campus.”

“It is very important because it lets me know what I want to do and helps me figure out what I want to do faster in a better way,” team member Kimmonie McKellar added.

Cheer is an important part of their lives – but the team knows the lessons go beyond the sport. 

“Her toughness getting us ready because in high school is gonna get tougher, it’s only gonna get tougher, it’s not gonna get easier,” McKellar said. “It’s just gonna get tougher when we grow up and how we go out into the real world.”

The main lesson – knowing they can rely on their teammates and coaches to get them through anything.

“One thing about us is we’re going to show you what you can achieve because we never said that you could not just because you are here, but the world is bigger than Greensboro, it’s bigger than North Carolina,” Bethea concluded.