Jeanne Devine ‘74: Catalyst of the Greenhills cheer team
Jeanne Devine (neé Sheryl Porter) came to Greenhills in 10th grade. She’d come from a public high school, where she’d always wanted to be a cheerleader but had never found a sport of her own. Greenhills, though, had an athletic requirement, and Devine was having trouble figuring out which sport she would play.
“Greenhills had women’s basketball and softball; I couldn’t play either of those,” Devine said. “Field hockey, I thought, ‘oh my goodness, I’m going to get smashed in the head with a hockey stick or a hockey puck.’”
So, in classic Greenhills fashion, Devine set out to blaze her own trail.
“Don’t we need cheerleaders?” she asked.
Once her idea was approved, she set out to do something she’d never planned to do: build a team from scratch. She asked around for a faculty sponsor, and biology teacher Martha Friedlander volunteered. She found six inaugural members, secured gym time, scheduled practices, and bought team uniforms. She even spent time going to other schools and watching their cheer routines, looking for inspiration.
This wasn’t some casual activity: this was a serious endeavor. The cheerleaders spent hours every week practicing their routines. They worked until their material was well-organized and professional. They cheered year-round.
The new team was instantly popular. “For what is a team without its compliment and compliments?” asked the team’s inaugural yearbook page.
“Sports just got more exciting,” Devine said. “Once the school and the teams saw that there was an active cheerleading group who was interested in showing up for the games, practicing, buying uniforms, it became an integral part of the sports there.”
As the force that brought the team to the sidelines, Devine got noticed.
“Everybody in my yearbook always commented on me being a cheerleader,” Devine said. “It was very well-received.”
It was also an opportunity that Devine didn’t believe she would have, suddenly coming true.
“I never thought I was that athletic,” she said. “But being able to do those pyramids, watching the games, doing the spectacular stunts and having the whole crowd cheer for you afterwards, was a blast!”