Several times a week, a room on the University of Houston-Victoria campus is filled to the brink with school spirit as a group of students rehearses the jumps, kicks and cheers they hope will get students excited about UHV.
And it’s all because of Amara Florentino, a UHV freshman with a passion for cheerleading.
Florentino began Jag Cheer, a university spirit organization, to encourage people to get pumped about the Jaguars.
“This is not so much about sports,” she said. “It’s for people to come together and be in an organization that wants to raise school spirit.”
Florentino began cheering in sixth grade, following in an older cousin’s footsteps. She instantly fell in love with the sport and kept with it through the years.
“I love performing, being in front of crowds and doing crazy stunts,” she said. “This is just something I love doing. It’s so many things rolled into one.”
The San Antonio native graduated from the International School of the Americas High School in 2011. She selected UHV because the smaller-town setting meant she could focus on her goals and course work with fewer distractions.
Florentino is a biology major who owns two cats, Tuxy and Jasper. She hopes to use her degree to eventually become a veterinarian.
Although still in its infancy, Jag Cheer already has 13 members, and she hopes to add more as the year progresses. The goal is to join up with other organizations for a spring pep rally.
The group is about more than spirit, however. It’s also a chance to help students get involved and make new friends. Florentino encouraged people to go out on a limb in college and enjoy the experience.
“Try not to be scared to do new things,” she said. “Be outgoing, not just physically, but socially, too. It’s the best thing you can do.”
Jag Cheer still is accepting new members. For more information, call 210-883-8378.
The UHV Outstanding Student is an online feature highlighting the exceptional students who attend the University of Houston-Victoria. To nominate a student, contact Paula Cobler, UHV interim director of marketing and communications, or call 361-570-4350.