Nims’ single cheerleader earns accolades, puts school in spotlight
[subtitle]Local cheerleader puts on one woman show…[/subtitle]
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
More than three weeks had passed since 14-year-old Nims Middle cheerleader Tianiya Hall-Scales had to go at it alone in a showcase. But her bubbly demeanor was ever present when the 220 Quarterback Club rewarded her boldness with a trophy and other prizes.
The smile on her face got even broader when a voice in the crowd asked for a demonstration of the cheer that she performed to wow her audience at Chiles High School in early February.
She obliged the request just as boldly as she did when she found out that the rest of her squad had bowed out of the event just hours before show time.
“Keep it up. Keep it up,” she bellowed in a meeting room at the New Times Country Buffet restaurant. “Keep that Trojans spirit up. Keep. It. Up. Woo.”
Tianiya’s performance during the showcase has brought plenty of media attention, not only for her but for her school. The accolades she’s receiving couldn’t have gone to a better student, said principal Desmond Cole.
Not only does she perform as a cheerleader, but she runs on the Trojans’ track team. She’s also involved with the Boys and Girls Club as well as being a member of a modeling troupe.
Cole used the term “rock star” to describe the kind of attention his student is getting. However, she maintains honor-roll standards at Nims, where many of the students come from homes where their parents don’t make much money.
“When you’re talking about a kid that comes to our school and do the right thing all the time, I’m talking about Tianiya,” Cole said. “If you’re talking about a kid that really cares about her academics, I’m talking about Tianiya. If you’re talking about a student that is kind to others and have friends and don’t seem to have a bad day, I’m talking about this young lady.”
True to form, Tianiya didn’t flinch when she found out that she’d have to go solo in the showcase that drew other middle school teams with as many as 20 members deep.
“I’m used to doing solo and stuff like that so to me it was just another solo,” she said.
Tianiya had plenty of opportunities to back out, but she insisted on performing, said Vandie Joseph, a science teacher who coaches Nims’ cheerleaders along with Sandra Greer. Neither could talk Tianiya out of putting on her show.
“She just bites the bullet,” Joseph said. “She did what she is supposed to do.”
The reaction was immediate, said Joseph.
“Oh my God, it was so overwhelming with people coming up to give her words of encouragement,” said Joseph. “They gave her a standing ovation. I’ve never experienced something like that. I came home and told my sister it was crazy in that room that night.”
Whatever fear Tianiya might have had was seemingly conquered by accepting that she’d be a one-person show.
“I focused on me,” she said. “I would do it all over again.”
Her mother, Shaleta Hall, doesn’t doubt her one bit. She’s seen her daughter overcome being bullied and a case of eczema to the effervescent child who almost a month later is still the talk of the city.
Admittedly, though, Hall said her daughter’s success brings on the challenge of keeping her grounded.
“I still want her to stay focused on school and keep up her grades,” Hall said, adding that Tianiya will likely attend Richards High School in the fall.
Meanwhile, Hall doesn’t have to worry about her daughter losing focus.
“She is handling it quite graciously because of the person she is,” said Joseph. “Some kids might start feeling themselves and their head might be blown up a bit, but she is very grateful for all of the things. She is happy about everything.”