LONE GROVE — In her 2015 song “Rise Up”, Andra Day wrote a lyric that says “I’ll rise up in spite of the ache, I’ll rise up, and I’ll do it a thousand times again. For you.”

LONE GROVE — In her 2015 song “Rise Up”, Andra Day wrote a lyric that says “I’ll rise up in spite of the ache, I’ll rise up, and I’ll do it a thousand times again. For you.”

For Lone Grove senior cheerleader Karissa Bray, the “you” in her life that she rises up for everyday is none other than her mother Tiffany.

In the years that Karissa has proudly represented the Lady Horns varsity cheer squad, she has done so with a heavy heart as her mother, who is diagnosed with epilepsy has had to undergo multiple brain surgeries to remove a birthmark, which turned out to a freckle on her brain.

Despite all the pain of having to watch her mother go through countless treatments and surgeries, Karissa hasn’t found a reason to be sad through it all, but a reason to be inspired to be better. 

“My mom has always pushed me to be my best self and to go after what I want in life,” Karissa said. “There were years where I didn’t want to try out for cheerleading, and she told me I would regret it if I didn’t, so I went out and made it each year.”

“The way she holds and conducts herself is the way that I want to be,” Karissa added. “She has inspired me to go out and be who I want to be, and get what I want out of life.”

When she wasn’t cheering on the Longhorns during football season or the Lady Horns during basketball season, Karissa spent her free time outdoors as well as volunteering at the animal shelter. 

She is also a proud member of the FCCLA at Lone Grove High School, while being concurrently enrolled at Murray State College in Tishomingo. 

“Being a Lone Grove cheerleader has been amazing for me,” Karissa said. “It’s been like a family with all my cheer teammates. When you also add in how supportive this community is for all of us, it’s amazing. Cheer is a passion for me and being a member of this squad has just made me love it that much more.”

“If you never tryout for cheer, then you’ll never know what could happen,” Karissa added. “Cheer is a sport you get into to become yourself.”

This season the Lone Grove cheer team got a change in personnel coaching wise with the addition of Kaitlyn and Susie Solley. 

Karissa added that she can’t give enough credit to how much better her coaches have made the squad this season and is excited about what they will do in the future. 

“They (Susie and Kaitlyn) genuinely care,” Karissa said about her new coaches. “Both of them are great leaders and great coaches. They are all about making us better as cheerleaders and as people, and they want to have more school spirit in every way possible.”

Karissa plans to finish her associates degree at Murray State, before moving on to the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, where she plans on continuing a journey towards a possible PhD in psychology in the future.