Her­itage's John­son to cheer for Alabama

The Catoosa County News - - MIL­LIONS OF THEM -

Her­itage's Caro­line John­son con­tin­ues to over­come the odds to live out her dream.

The 2015 Her­itage High School grad­u­ate, who weighed barely one pound when she was born, and has a par­a­lyzed vo­cal cord, may not be the loud­est on the squad.

How­ever, her mother Julie John­son said her daugh­ter is one of the most de­ter­mined.

"Caro­line is the cheer­leader that is very quiet, but that does not stop her," she said. "Her voice may be quiet but her pres­ence on the field is loud."

Caro­line be­gan cheer­ing at age 4 and cheered all through mid­dle and high school.

She's now go­ing to test her skills on the col­le­giate level af­ter be­ing se­lected as one of 11 women on the 23-per­son Univer­sity of Alabama na­tional cham­pi­onship cheer­lead­ing squad that in­cludes only three fresh­men.

Caro­line, re­cently named to the In­side Cheer mag­a­zine All Star All-Amer­i­can team spon­sored by In­fin­ity, said she can­not wait for the next chap­ter of her life to be­gin.

"The thing I love most about cheer is be­ing a pos­i­tive role model to younger ath­letes," she said.

Alabama cheer coach Brian Groeschell said Caro­line is a great ad­di­tion to his team. He said she made an im­me­di­ate good im­pres­sion when they first met in March of last year.

"We knew right away that she was tal­ented, hard­work­ing and just the type of ath­lete we wanted in our pro­gram," he said. "She took her sec­ond visit to cam­pus in Novem­ber and we learned more about her fam­ily and her aca­demics. That visit so­lid­i­fied our de­sire for her to join our pro­gram. "

"It was ob­vi­ous that she came from a won­der­ful fam­ily with high morals and char­ac­ter, was an ex­cel­lent stu­dent and some­one who we would love to have rep­re­sent our pro­gram and the Univer­sity of Alabama."

Caro­line is grad­u­at­ing from Her­itage with a 4.0 GPA, three aca­demic let­ters, is in the Beta

Club, Na­tional Honor So­ci­ety and has served as a mem­ber of stu­dent gov­ern­ment for four years.

Over the years she has cheered lo­cally for United All-stars and in Cartersville for the Devil-Ray All-stars. This past year she cheered on a World team for St­ingray All­stars out of Ma­ri­etta, where she was able to travel to In­di­anapo­lis for the Ma­jors com­pe­ti­tion in Jan. 2015 (the most se­lec­tive all-star com­pe­ti­tion in the world). Her team, St­ingray Steel, also com­peted in Louisville, where they earned a fully paid bid to the World in Dal­las and went on to win UCA In­ter­na­tional Com­pe­ti­tion in Or­lando and com­peted at the World.

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