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Ashley Hill, Aldine
ASHLEY HILL ENJOYS MAKING PEOPLE HAPPY, WHICH MAKES IT SEEMINGLY FITTING THAT SHE ENTERS HER SENIOR YEAR AT ALDINE HIGH SCHOOL AS AN ALL-AMERICAN CHEERLEADER AND CO-CAPTAIN OF THE SQUAD.
This summer, Hill traveled up to Aggieland for the UCA Cheer Camp, where she earned an All-American nod.
VYPE caught up with the four-year cheerleader who bleeds Aldine blue and white!
VYPE: What's it like being an All-American cheerleader?
HILL: It feels good. It takes confidence, smiling and lots and lots of practice. I have a lot of support from my coach and my other teammates.
VYPE: What was the experience like to go to the UCA camp at Texas A&M?
HILL: It was good. We're a small team, so it felt a little weird, but it was fun at the end.
VYPE: How much fun is it being a cheerleader?
HILL: It's a lot of fun. It gets hard at times, but you just must push through it. I enjoy the games, I'm very into them, and interacting with other teams.
VYPE: What would you tell an incoming freshman about cheerleading at Aldine High?
HILL: I would tell them to join. Take a risk. It's a lot of fun, you have a lot of support from everybody – the coach and your teammates.
VYPE: What do you like to do outside of cheerleading?
HILL: I like to draw a lot.
VYPE: What does the future hold for you?
HILL: I want to be a registered nurse in the future. Go to Texas A&M and get my Bachelor's degree. I want to be a nurse because I love helping people. I like putting smiles on people's faces. It makes me happy.
It was by pure chance that Madi McCollum got into cheerleading.
"My sophomore year, I was sitting in math class and my teacher was the assistant cheer coach," she laughed. "The head cheer coach came in to talk to her and looked at me and said, 'you need to try out for cheer'."
I thought, I'm not a cheerleader but told my mom after school and she said I should really do it. I worked really hard and tried out. I didn't think I would make it, but I did and have fallen in love with the girls and my coaches ever since."
McCollum had just moved over from Legacy Prep where she played volleyball but had to turn in her tights and jersey.
"I had played volleyball since the sixth grade and it was my heart and soul," she said. "My knees just couldn't handle it and after a few injuries I had to give up the sport. It was tough and I was kind of doing nothing in the fall and that is when I went for it and tried cheer."
When she's not rooting on the Wildkats, you can find her on the golf course or on a plane.
"My dad is really into golf and I used to go out with him when I was little to the course for fun," she said. "In the sixth grade, he thought I should go out for the golf team and I was like, you are joking. I did and was naturally pretty good, so I stuck with it. I've been playing varsity golf ever since I've been in high school.
"When I'm not playing golf, I'm usually traveling."
Changing schools, giving up her favorite sport and trying a new one, McCollum gives some sage advice to girls heading into the high school hallways.
"Don't care what people think about you and just enjoy the experience," she said. "Try new things, don't get caught up in little, stupid drama and have a good time."