Becoming a cheerleader is an expensive accomplishment at any of the three high schools in the Putnam City school district.
Cheerleading advisers estimate it costs $500, although two of the cheerleaders say it's more like $1,000 to be properly outfitted.
There may be a certain glamour associated with being a cheerleader at the suburban northwest schools, but strict rules also lurk behind that illusion, say cheerleading advisers.
Advisers Sue Crelia of Putnam City High, Kathy Blair of Putnam City North, and Merlynn Nelson of Putnam City West estimate the minimum first-year cost of cheerleading at $500.
PC North senior cheerleaders Anna-Lisa Grant and Cristi Mooneyham said they spend probably $1,000 to cheer for the newest high school in the district, located in far northwest where neighborhoods are upper-middle class.
The pair said they think cheerleading has become more expensive than it needs to be. But to them, it is worth the financial and physical price they have paid during their two years on the squad.
Becoming a member of the squad is no easy feat. In Putnam City schools, that process requires determination. Otherwise, it just wouldn't be worth the trouble.
There are no sophomore cheerleaders in Putnam City schools, because a one-year stint in the pep club is required before an applicant becomes eligible for cheerleading.
Once that requirement has been met, cheerleader hopefuls must attend a cheerleading clinic after school every day for four weeks to learn the skills necessary for April tryouts.
Once a candidate makes the squad, she is required to attend all home and away football games, all home basketball games and wrestling matches, and a spattering of other home and away athletic events.
At the same time, cheerleaders must maintain passing grades in all "solid" subjects.
Putnam City cheerleaders also must be ready to perform at pep rallies, assemblies and other school functions. That means practice.
So much time is devoted to cheerleading and its related activities, in fact, that Putnam City cheerleaders are allowed to hold jobs only if their jobs do not interfere with cheerleading activities. BIOG: NAME:Archive ID: 150806