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The University of Texas at San Antonio Online Magazine

A life of cheer

UTSA's head cheerleader has been raising spirits since kindergarten

Jamille Henderson

Jamille Henderson gets an almost dreamy look when she describes running out on the field to cheer at an athletic event.

“That feeling is unlike any other feeling, I believe,” said Henderson, a junior and captain of the cheerleading team. “It’s just amazing.”

And, with football, it’s going to get better and better, she said.

Henderson, a Houston native and graduate of Kingwood High School, has been on the cheerleading team since her freshman year. In fact, the team is why she’s here.

“I came to UTSA, honestly, because of the cheer program,” she said. “I had already made the team, and I had been accepted by the school. I made friends on the team. I loved the program, I loved the campus. I just loved everything about it.

“And the scholarships,” she added, laughing. “They offered me the most money.”

Henderson, a business management major, has been cheerleading since she was 5 years old.

“I started cheering for my older brother’s football team, and then I started doing competitive cheerleading and gymnastics,” she said. “And later I quit gymnastics and just did cheerleading.”

When she enrolled at Kingwood High, cheerleading was a natural fit.

“Living in Texas, football is a big deal,” she said. “Cheering for a high school team is nothing like cheering for a collegiate team, a Division I team.”

Henderson said cheering at UTSA’s spring game in the Alamodome gave her a taste of what Sept. 3 will be like when the Roadrunners take the field against Northeastern (Okla.) State.

“The Alamodome is massive,” she said. “And the fact that it’s going to be so loud. We’ll be cheering in front of thousands of people; we’ve never cheered in front of thousands of people. It’s going to be big; it’s going to be amazing to see the turnout.”

She recalled going to an LSU football game in Baton Rouge when she was a high school student.

“I’m just sitting up there in the stands and I look at these cheerleaders,” she said, again with that dreamy look in her eyes. “You just want to be down there. And there are so many people. I can’t even explain that feeling. It’s going to be crazy [in the Alamodome].”

—Joe Michael Feist

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