The cheerleading squads at Cherokee Bluff High School are showing their appreciation for healthcare workers by making signs to be displayed at a Northeast Georgia Health System location.
The cheerleaders worked on completing their banners during Tuesday’s practice.
Each banner has handwritten words of encouragement and thanks for those who have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Claire Stevenson, an English teacher and cheerleading coach at Cherokee Bluff High School overseeing the project, said that once the cheerleaders are finished, around 15 large banners will go out to the Northeast Georgia Health System’s Gainesville and Braselton locations.
Stevenson said students with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes are also making signs; that will add about another 5 to 10 signs for the hospitals.
All three groups are making cards to go directly to healthcare workers, as well. Stevenson estimated students will complete between 200 and 250 of those.
She said her students and cheerleaders were thrilled to take on the project.
"We have our motto of 'Being Bears' and part of that is service work and just giving back to those who give to us and serve around us," said Stevenson. "So when I said this is a chance to just say thank you to those who have allowed you to be back in school and those who have allowed you to have normal seasons, they of course were like, 'Yes, please, we want to make sure that they know we thank them and recognize them for all of their hard work.'"
Once the banners and cards are complete, a hospital employee will come to pick them up. The signs will then either be placed inside the hospital or held up by hospital administration as workers enter and leave their shifts.
Erin Overby, a freshman on the cheerleading squad, said this project is especially important to her because her mom works in the Labor and Delivery unit at NGMC Gainesville.
"Everyone there needs a lot of support and it means a lot to me for my mom to be able to see this," said Overby. "I just want her to know and all of the other nurses how much I care for and love them...and they got this."
Gracie Strickland, a junior on the cheerleading squad, echoed Stevenson’s thoughts that healthcare workers are part of the reason they can be in school.
"I think it means the world because if it weren't for healthcare workers, we wouldn't be able to have a normal football season and all of the extracurricular stuff we get to do," said Strickland. "I think that we should be able to thank them in any way we can, because they're doing a lot for us."
Stevenson said the dedication of her students to this project and the community makes her proud as an educator. Her students completed a similar project last year for first responders.
"As an educator, that's my ultimate goal...show them what it means to have good character and what it really means to give back and appreciate where you're at," she said. "It just really kind of humbled me that these kids do recognize and appreciate the opportunities they've been given and they appreciate being back in school."
The signs and cards were scheduled to be picked up this afternoon. A health system spokesperson said the signs will be put on display and held up by administration later this month.