• Mountain Brook High School cheerleaders know how to rally support for the Spartans’ athletic teams. That’s their aim for most of the year, whether the backdrop is a football field or basketball court. 

    It’s evident they also know how to generate enthusiasm for a cause whose impact exceeds any athletic victory. Earlier this year, the MBHS cheer program participated in a letter-writing campaign through the Universal Cheerleaders Association to raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. 

    Cheerleaders learned in mid-August they raised more money — around $6,500 — than any other high school cheerleading squad in the country. 

    “I am beaming with pride. I love it,” MBHS cheer coach Shane “Chief” Martin said. “I’d rather brag about that than any cheerleading skill we have because to me that’s more important, the character aspect of it.”

    The 38 cheerleaders on Mountain Brook’s 2019-2020 squad wrote letters to relatives and friends on behalf of St. Jude this past spring. While UCA advises participants to write three to five letters apiece, each MBHS cheerleader penned 10. 

    “It just shows that it’s so worth it,” said Sarah Margaret Currie, a senior on this year’s squad. “I didn’t know how much money just letters could raise.” 

    Currie attended the virtual presentation in which MBHS discovered it was the top fundraiser. The team had done well in the past, finishing atop the state ranks, but had never finished so high nationally. 

    Martin views the honor as a manifestation of his team’s selfless mentality. 

    “The cheerleaders here at Mountain Brook really have a servant’s heart,” he said. “That culture has really been a very positive one here, and this is an example of that to me.”

    In a regular year, MBHS cheerleaders would have an opportunity to visit St. Jude and meet those it helps as a reward for their fundraising success. Although COVID-19 nixed those plans, they hold the hospital in high esteem and understand its life-changing impact. 

    “We’re all family and we do everything we can for each other,” junior Emmaline Stewart said of her cheer team, “and I feel like St. Jude is that exact same way. They all care for each other so much and do everything they can at all times to lift each other up and just make them feel at home."