In 2018 Ashley Puglise entered GMHS as a freshman. After years of being on the Bearcats elementary- and middle-school-aged cheer squad, it made sense for her to continue cheering at the high school level. Ashley also opted to volunteer her time helping coach the Bearcats and has continued to do so over the years, earning a lot of adoration and respect from her student cheerleaders as well as her cheer co-coaches. She managed to balance her education and her own cheer schedule while staying committed to the Bearcats and its rigorous schedule, always with a smile and a helping hand.
Last season was cut short due to COVID-19 restrictions, so everyone was especially excited to start a typical cheer season in 2021. This also marked Ashley’s last year of cheering at the high school level as she was a senior. Ashley, along with Dorothy Locke and Lauren Josefek, began planning for and training the Bearcats for the upcoming season. It was during one of these practices that Ashley revealed to them that her high school cheer coach had suddenly left and they were not going to have a senior year cheer squad.
Locke and Josefek couldn’t believe that, after all the time, kindness, and generosity Ashley had given the Bearcats cheer squad, that Ashley herself would be missing out on her senior year of cheering. They decided to step up and take over coaching for the high school squad. The women are spending every day together, some days coaching the Bearcats and on alternate days, coaching the Granby High School Bears.
Seeing Ashley volunteer over these years has been a joy to watch and, in turn, to see Locke and Josefek volunteer as coaches for the high school while balancing coaching the Bearcats is nothing short of inspirational. All three coaches encompass a strong feeling of community and truly define good sportsmanship. We wish both the Bearcats and Bears a wonderful and successful season. If you make it to any of the games make sure to cheer on the cheerleaders and their coaches, they deserve it!