Eighteen-year-old twins Ali and Cami White, seniors at Zachary High School, are finally seeing the past seven years of hard work — and countless hours of cheerleading practice — pay off.
The sisters have both been offered full-tuition scholarships to cheer at Pearl River Community College in Poplarville, Mississippi, and the teens say they can hardly wait for the opportunity.
Although the White twins were recruited by coach Candace Harper, of PRCC’s coed cheer squad, they still had to try out, which they did in March, and classified the experience as more than a little nerve-racking.
“We had to get in front of a lot of new people who expect more from you,” Cami said.
“It was scary. In high school, it’s all girls, but in college, it’s coed,” Ali said.
It’s a bittersweet but thrilling time in their lives with graduation on the horizon and the prospect of going away to college, the twins said.
“It’s exciting,” Cami said.
“But we’re ready to get away,” Ali said, finishing her sister’s sentence.
“We’re inseparable,” said the twins in unison.
Since first trying out before their longtime competition cheer coach Shannon Milazzo in the fifth grade, the girls have been putting their hearts, blood, sweat and tears into perfecting their cheerleading abilities.
“It’s a very exciting time to see two cheerleaders who have been with you from the beginning sign scholarships. It shows our program is getting stronger,” said Milazzo at the twins’ signing ceremony April 27. “You see lots of guys sign scholarships for baseball and football and some girls sign for basketball and softball, but you don’t see many cheerleaders signing. It’s a good thing for kids to see this because it shows something attainable through hard work and perseverance.”
Milazzo joked that when the twins first tried out, they were little bitty things “more like projects.”
“Cami and Ali, who I still can’t tell apart, are fearless. They’ll try anything,” Milazzo said.
At their signing ceremony, the sisters thanked Milazzo, ZHS cheer sponsor Kate Strahan and former sponsor Wendy Elbourne.
When asked if they had any advice for younger girls just starting out as a cheerleader, the twins said, “Practice, practice, practice.”
“You have to push yourself, have a good attitude and not get frustrated,” Ali says.
The twins are the sisters of 2014 ZHS graduate Hunter White and daughters of Timi White and Jojo White.
Members of the girls’ large and extended family, as well as their fellow ZHS cheerleaders, attended the signing event.
Recently, the Pearl River Community College cheerleading squad brought home five team awards and a first place award in two-person stunt competition from the Universal Cheerleading Association camp at the University of Alabama.