The East Gym has been filled with cheerful chants and dancing this week as the Dickson High School cheerleaders led a three-day clinic for preschool through fifth-graders.

About 80 young girls attended the clinic and will be performing during the halftime of tonight's game against Madill. The performance will include a cheer and two dances from each of the three age groups.

"They all look up to the cheerleaders," said cheer coach Wanetta Thompson. "It gives them the opportunity to learn cheers and prepare them to be cheerleaders in junior high and high school."

The younger girls appreciated the opportunities provided by the clinic. Many plan to be cheerleaders when they are older.

"It sounds fun to be in front of everybody and cheer for the players and throw the blue footballs," says second-grader Greta Burnam.

For some girls, their cheer inspiration is closer to home.

"I want to cheer for my brother. He plays football," says second-grader Dara Hicks.

The clinic also provides opportunities for the high school cheerleaders.

"This combines my two favorite hobbies I like to do, which is cheering and working with children," said sophomore Kadie McLemore.

McLemore is leading the second-grade group, which includes her younger sister Rachel.

"When I was little, I wanted to be like the cheerleaders at cheer clinic," she said. "Now I'm happy to inspire the children and my sister, just like those cheerleaders inspired me."

Others learned important skills in leadership and working with children.

"Controlling the kids was really hard. I told them if you're going to grow up to be a cheerleader, you have to practice and listen," says sophomore Madison Ashley.

Adapting to overcome these challenges was important.

"Sometimes they are gripy and tired. You've got to tell them they are doing good to make them happy again," explains sophomore Brooklyn Collins.