DAVIS — Through tragedy can come something beautiful.

Editors Note: This is part of a series profiling the finalists for the 2019 Cheerleader of the Year award, which will be announced at the Best of the Arbuckles Preps banquet in May. 

DAVIS — Through tragedy can come something beautiful.

It’s something Davis High School senior Kyla Birkes has found to be true during her high school journey as a cheerleader, and a person.

When Birkes suffered a severe knee injury as a member of the Lady Wolves basketball team, it led her on what seemed to be at the time a normal path of rehab and recovery.

What she found though was something she never expected, a new passion and dream.

“The girls that I worked with during my rehab for my knee were incredible,” Birkes said. “They didn’t just motivate me, they inspired me. Because of what they did for me during a tough time, it ignited a passion for me to do the same and pursue being a physical therapy assistant.”

“I can’t begin to tell you how much that experience has helped me,” Birkes added. “It’s made me want to be in their shoes and give hope to people, just like those girls gave hope to me after my knee injury.”

With her knee back at full strength, Birkes has been able to turn her attention to other passions in life which include helping the community of Davis, excelling as a student, and helping lead the Lady Wolves varsity cheer team.

“Cheer has gotten me through some very tough times in high school,” Birkes said. “It’s more than just a squad and a team. This is a family. We grow together, heal together in tough times and become stronger because of each other.”

“It’s a wonderful feeling getting to experience the love this community has for us as athletes,” Birkes added. “These people have given us the opportunity to have fun, and they have funded our activities. They’ve also always believed in us, and never doubted us no matter what we’ve gone through.”

Aside from being a standout on the Davis cheer team, Birkes’ athletic abilities have also been on display for the Lady Wolves basketball and cross country teams throughout her high school career. 

But it is in the community and the classroom where Birkes’ impact has been felt the most in Davis.

The senior currently holds a GPA of 3.9, and is involved with executives, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Youth Murray County Leadership, BPA, Fish Club, and is a member of Central Church, where she’s created Blessing Boxes, as well as traveled on mission trips and delivered items to homeless people in Oklahoma City. She has also served at multiple Chamber Banquets, and assisted in picking up trash to clean up Wolf Field after football games. 

Birkes also helped create the student organization PUSH, which stands for Pray Until Something Happens. 

“It’s been very difficult balancing all of my school responsibilities and community involvement,” Birkes added. “There were times that I felt it was a little overwhelming, and I had to make some sacrifices. But this year I’ve been able to be a lot more organized, and that is thanks to my coaches, my family, and my teammates.”

“Coach (Tammy) Johnson, is like another mother to myself and this team,” Birkes added. “She can’t even talk about us without tearing up, she loves us that much. There have been times where I haven’t felt good enough, and some of the members of the team haven’t felt good enough to do something. But it’s the love and support she gives us that makes us push through those feelings and achieve the things we’re able to achieve. I owe all my cheer success to her.”

Birkes was able to add another accomplishment to her stellar resume this past December, when she became a two-time member of the All-Ardmoreite cheer team, joining her teammate Sydni Merrell, who also made the squad for a second consecutive year.

With one of her toughest obstacles in the rear view mirror, Birkes now has her sights on making more history as the first ever Cheerleader of the Year.

“It would be an incredible honor to win the award,” Birkes said. “This wouldn’t be just for me, but for my family, which includes my cheer team. It would give me so much confidence as a person, and give me so much pride in my school.”

“I’d want to make sure the award went back to the school,” Birkes said. “This school is what has helped shaped me as a person, as well as my coaches. I’d want them to have the same sense of pride and accomplishment as I would have receiving the award if that were to happen.”

Birkes plans to attend Murray State College before possibly moving on to attend the University of Oklahoma to further her education.