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Ms. Melissa Salas -- JV Cheerleading

**Welcome to My Cheerleading Journey!**

Since 2006, I've had the privilege of coaching high school and middle school level cheerleading, and it has been an incredible journey of growth and achievement. Over the years, I've been involved with many fantastic teams, each with its own unique story.

I first started coaching at Southwest High School, home of the Stallions.  Fast-forward a few years, and you'll find me in Wildcat Country.  The past two years would have me and a staff of dedicated cheer-enthusiasts rebuilding the Northwoods Park Middle School Dolphins cheerleading program. Taking on the Northwoods Park team was a challenge, as we had no prior members, no records from pre-COVID times, and no former coach to guide us.  We took the team from awkward, baby-deer to award winning ambassadors of NWP.  Our teams have been winners, securing 2nd place in 2022 and the Spirit award in 2023 at the Onslow County Cheerleading Competition. 

Now, as I take a step away from being the head coach, I am relaxing into the role of JV Cheerleading Assistant Coach, and I look forward to coaching and mentoring those around me.

Apart from what everyone knows of coaching, I take immense pleasure in creating content for my teams. I like to mix music, design apparel, and create entire competition routines (with the help of my good friend Pamela Ruse, who still coaches at NWP).  One of the most exhilarating experiences I've had coaching was being given the "go-ahead" to bring my knowledge of high school sideline cheerleading and entertainment to the middle school football and basketball games. Our teams performed original band dances, fun halftime routines, and showcased the true spirit of becoming ambassador cheerleaders who strive to represent everything the Onslow County Athletics Department stands for.

I've always emphasized high standards for my cheerleaders -- my teams are expected to conduct themselves with dignity, and because they are ambassadors of the school, the teams have always been held to a tougher, higher standard than the minimum of what is expected around the county. Their grades and behavior are top priorities, and ultimately, it boils down to this:

A student athlete on my cheerleading squad is a daughter or son first.

Then, s/he is a student.  Once s/he is successful on those two platforms, only then is that person a cheerleader.

Integrity and character come before everything else. I've never hesitated to maintain a small team that upholds these values, as opposed to a larger team with issues.

As I embark on this exciting new adventure, I am eager to see what the future holds for this year's team.  Coach Rawls has already begun proving to be an amazing coach to assist, and I'm thrilled to be coaching high school cheerleading again. Go Vikings!