HEALDTON — A popular saying around communities in Oklahoma is “Small Town, Big Dreams.”

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. 

HEALDTON — A popular saying around communities in Oklahoma is “Small Town, Big Dreams.”

For Healdton senior cheerleader Erin Kelley, while she might be from one of the smallest schools in the area, that hasn’t stopped her from standing out in multiple ways, as well as shooting for the stars when it comes to her dreams. 

“Being a cheerleader puts me in a role model position to help set an example for them,” Kelley said. “I want to show the younger girls that the stereotype of cheerleaders doesn’t have to stick for them or anyone else. I value morality, and I want people to be true to themselves.”

Kelley has certainly been true blue Healdton throughout her four years of being a cheerleader, as she has amassed more than 217 hours of community service, as well as being a member of FCCLA for four years. 

She’s also been a student council member for four years and is currently the class vice president.

Erin will also graduate this May in the top-ten percent of her class with a 3.28 GPA, and she is also a three year member of the National Honor Society and National Technical Honor Society. 

“Honestly I just have to sometimes tell myself that I have this,” Kelley said. “There would be some days where I’d have school, then work, then dance, and sometimes I’d have to help put goody bags together for the football guys. Sometimes I’d get so caught up and lose my mind, but I was able to make it through all the same.” 

This season though really tested Kelley and her squad’s dedication to school spirit, as the Bulldogs football team had their season suddenly stopped after five games. 

But through adversity, Kelley said she was able to realize that her and her teammates were doing more good than they realized for the community.

“It was hard at first going through that this year,” Kelley said. “We got so beaten down at times. But we chose to look at it and view it from the standpoint of we put a lot of heart into everything we do, and that’s what really matters at the end of the day.”

“I’ve grown up knowing Miss (Robin) Needham, because my older sister is friends with her daughter,” Kelley added. “It means so much having a coach who knows me outside of cheer, and knows my family. She understands me so well and does so much for me outside of cheer and school activities.”

Kelley made history for Healdton this year, becoming a two-time member of the All-Ardmoreite cheer team. She now has a bigger goal in mind, as she wants to bring home the Cheerleader of the Year award. 

“It would mean the absolute world winning the award,” Kelley said. “Healdton may be small, but we can pack a punch. It would mean a lot to give this school the recognition it deserves for all of its hard work.”

Kelley plans to attend USAO in Chickasha after graduation, where she plans on getting her bachelor of fine arts while possibly minoring in business, while looking to go into the graphic design industry.