Sugar bears hope to sweeten athletics

Friday, October 24, 2008

Correction appended.

With the fall sports season in full swing, a group of students wants to ensure crowds at games get an extra dose of Bruno spirit.

A group of girls led by Deborah Saint-Vil ’10 began holding tryouts Monday for the start of Brown’s first pom team: the Sugar Bears. Under the motto “Gimme some Sugar, Bears!” Saint-Vil, a former cheerleader, wants to bring more enthusiasm and school spirit to the student body.

The pom style of dance, which employs “shiny pom-poms” for “80 percent” of its routines, is a fusion of cheerleading and jazz, Saint-Vil said.

Saint-Vil asked Lee Ann Olvedo ‘09.5, public relations coordinator for athletics and recreational sports, to oversee the group. Olvedo has been in the cheerleading world since she was five, and last year she coached two teams in “American Cheer Power,” a national competition.

“I love to do it,” Olvedo said. “I think we need more spirit organizations that show support for the people in the athletic programs and that also encourage artistic growth.”

The Sugar Bears’ primary goal is to cheer for Brown’s sports teams at their games and championships. “Anyone who is willing to wake up at 5:30 in the morning to go to practice and also manages to balance this with a good academic record deserves to be supported,” Olvedo said.

Saint-Vil said she also wants the group to give back to the Providence community. “So far, the group wants to focus on working with girls from the Highlander Charter School, but we also want to look into working with the YMCA,” she said.

Saint-Vil added that she hopes to teach girls from the community, particularly the Highlander School, about “respect and teamwork.” She said that she expects the group to have a community service chair who will handle all the details and logistics of the outreach program.

Currently, the group is going though its tryout process, with a clinic tomorrow from 10:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. and final tryouts on Saturday from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Olney-Margolies Athletic Center’s dance studio.

“All girls are welcomed!” Saint-Vil said. “We want girls who have potential, enthusiasm and dedication. We really want to make a great first impression in Brown.”

An article in The Herald (“Sugar bears hope to sweeten athletics,” Oct. 21) said the new pom team is holding its final tryouts on Sunday. The final tryouts are actually on Saturday.

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