cheerleader holding trophy

Maggie Cavanaugh: How My Sister Makes The Most of Senior Year During COVID

My sister is probably my favorite person in the world. She’s always been incredibly hardworking and dedicated in everything she does and brings pride to my entire family. So, I can’t help but feel sad that her senior year may not be all she wanted. Nonetheless, Maggie continues to inspire me with her unwavering positivity and gratitude. I sat down with her to talk about her experience as a high school senior this year and what she’s looking forward to in the future. 

Her Campus (HC): What does it feel like to be a senior this year? Are you enjoying it so far? 

Maggie Cavanaugh (MC): Yes, I’m enjoying it; it’s fun. I’m excited to graduate, but this year also isn’t everything I hoped for—my prom has been canceled and I didn’t have a homecoming. Luckily, a lot of the events surrounding my cheer team were still able to happen and that’s been very exciting. 

HC: Do you face any unique challenges as a result of the pandemic? How do you cope with these things? 

MC: Like I said, a lot of the things I was looking forward to have been canceled. I really would've liked to experience prom. I think it’s a strange situation having half of my classmates online and the other half in person at my school. I don’t feel like my senior class is super connected due to this separation and that’s disappointing for me; I’m fairly social and like to be involved in school events. That said, cheerleading has been very uplifting for me this year. I think with the pandemic, everyone on the team was motivated to succeed more and try to make the best out of a less than ideal situation. 

HC: You are a co-captain of your school’s competitive cheerleading team, and you have recently become state champions. Tell us about the lead up to that experience and how you got your team so far. How do you show leadership within the team? Are these things you employ in your life outside of cheerleading? 

MC: I always try to lead with a positive attitude and humility. We placed third at regionals and were able to see our scoresheet afterward. Knowing where we could improve helped us to make it so far. We have a lot of girls on the team who have been there for two or three years now, so we’ve all gotten pretty close. We like to encourage each other but also respect each other when we hear criticism. I try to carry these qualities with me in my daily life. I feel like I am a very organized person, but I don’t expect perfection with everything and that is something I think is very important in a leadership role.  

cheerleader kneeling on grass Photo by Maggie Cavanaugh

HC: What have you learned the most through cheerleading or what is the most valuable thing you’re taking away from cheer? 

MC: It feels really good to win. Just kidding. I think compared to last year, my team has grown a lot. Seeing the difference in commitment between all of us this season and the outcome shows for me how much discipline matters. Being in synch with your team is incredibly important to success. Everyone on my team wanted to be there and that eliminated drama from the equation. Adapting to COVID was challenging, but everyone worked hard to make it work. Overall, I think the most valuable thing I’ve learned from cheerleading is the balance between being an individual and a team player. Independently, I had to work on bettering my skills, but also to adapt those skills to best serve my team. 

HC: What are you most looking forward to in 2021? Do you have any plans following graduation?  

MC: Right now, I am really looking forward to nationals. I’m so excited just to be invited and to see my team at that level. I’m excited to graduate high school but I will miss it—especially cheer and all the friends I’ve made through it. I would love to cheer in college if the opportunity presented itself. 

Through all the challenges my sister faces, she holds her head high and embraces the future. It was both a privilege and a pleasure to interview her and I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes next. 

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