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Shawsheen Tech Cheerleaders Receive MSAA Sportsmanship Award

WORCESTER, MA — Shawsheen Valley Technical High School Cheerleaders were awarded the Gerald Silverman Sportsmanship Award during Sunday’s Fall Cheerleading Championships at Worcester State University.

The award was presented by Dr. Michael J. Connelly, Assistant Director of The Massachusetts School Administrators’ Association (MSAA).  Three, out of over one-hundred teams, received the honor.

The Gerald Silverman Sportsmanship Award is given to a team who has been a consistent example of team spirit and sportsmanship, and furthermore, who “encourage[s] others to replicate such behavior.” 

Shawsheen’s cheerleaders were nominated for the award because of their infectious spirit and care for others, and because of their outward display of respect and positivity. Cheerleaders play a substantial role in promoting supportive and encouraging behavior for athletes and fans, and the Lady Ram Cheerleaders do that and more for the Shawsheen community. 

Superintendent Jackson commented on the attitudes of the cheerleaders and said, “adults have a lot to learn from these cheerleaders; they are visible examples of how we should respond in tough situations.”

The specific example that prompted nomination for the award was during an away football game at Whittier Tech (Haverhill).  Senior Captain Bianca Garofolo, a veteran cheerleader for the Rams, encouraged the Varsity Team to work with the Whittier cheerleaders to create a Paper Doll Pyramid.  The Pyramid was strategically built to intertwine both Whittier and Shawsheen cheerleaders in the single-leg stunt.

“The girls thought it would be a fun way to bond with the other team,” remarked Coach Sam while explaining how the stunt evolved, “and with last season being very limited with what we could do, the girls were eager to get back to doing what they love: cheering with their team and others.”

“To me, it represents the true meaning of high school athletics – competitors on the field and friends after the game is over,” Dr. Jackson reported regarding the stunt. “I’m so proud of them and proud that they’re Rams!” 

The Lady Ram Cheerleaders practice every day after school, and their training is both physical and mental.  They are led by Coach Samantha Cacciola who has been part of the coaching staff at Shawsheen since 2016; this is her 5th season as Head Coach.  Coach Sam teaches that school spirit and positivity is contagious, and both can motivate athletes to play their best, and fans to participate from the stands.  Shawsheen’s Athletics Department focuses on more than winning and losing, and that can be seen through Coach Sam’s work; she elevates kindness and character development through the sport of cheerleading.

The Shawsheen Cheerleading Team is known throughout the state as a strong and polished squad, and they are leaders in executing challenging routines. The varsity team had a stand-out season, winning 1st place at the Shepherd Hill Cheer Invitational, 1st place at the CAC League Competition, 1st place at the MVADA Fall Cheer Invitational, and qualifying for the state competition during North Regionals.

Throughout the season Coach Sam preached “winning is important but kindness is more important,” and that motto came full circle when the team did not place at States but was awarded the prestigious Gerald Silverman Sportsmanship Award. 

About Shawsheen School District and Shawsheen Athletics

Established in 1965, Shawsheen Valley Regional Vocational Technical School District (SVRVTSD) is a student-centered public institution serving the five member towns of Billerica, Bedford, Burlington, Tewksbury, and Wilmington.  Shawsheen Valley Technical High School serves more than 1,300 students in grades 9-12 and is “Dedicated to Excellence in Education,” integrating academics with more than 20-vocational-technical career pathways.

Shawsheen has 24 varsity sports, including an MIAA esports team.  The Shawsheen Athletic Department’s goal is to provide each student an opportunity to participate in extracurricular athletic activities that will foster physical skills, a sense of worth and competence, knowledge and understanding of the pleasure of sport, and the principles of play.

The Athletic Department at Shawsheen recently received the Boston Globe’s Markham Division I Title (October 2021), for being “the most successful vocational athletic program in the state.”  With more than 95 championship banners proudly displayed in the gymnasium, Shawsheen is proud to have an outstanding coaching staff, student athletes who compete with honor and pride, a tremendous athletic facility.

All of Shawsheen’s faculty and staff are committed to the mission “to provide a positive learning experience in a safe educational environment that encourages all students to reach their full potential, emphasizes the value of a strong work ethic, and prepares them for adult life in a competitive world.”