When Shelli McGinley was forced out as the Guilford (Rockford, Illinois) Competitive Cheer Coach it could have been devastating, but then again you really don’t know Shelli. Although the RPS 205 officials never gave her any support during the entire ‘soap opera’ event (a disgruntled JV Cheerleader and her parents) that led to her termination. McGinley was given the cold shoulder from all levels in the school system. She requested for the details to be released on why the school was letting her go and she wanted to talk with the administration to possibly work something out. That never happened and she was let go as just another item on the school board agenda, no thanks you for her work and dedication, which seems to be a trend in the Rockford school system. Not letting her situation get her down, Shelli has turned her ‘lemons into lemonades’ by forming an all-star competitive cheer team – the Rockford’s Royal Family.
Below McGinley tells us the latest details and happenings before the team competes for the first time in January.
How are things going with the Royal Family?
Things are going really well and we have three talented teams to set the bar for our new program. As with any new venture it is challenging, but extremely rewarding. Rockford’s Royal Family All Star athletes have exceeded my expectations for just forming the teams in October!
What is the main difference between All Star and high school cheer?
Working in the schools, you’re limited to working only with athletes from that specific school. With All Star you get the opportunity to work with kids from all over. The structure of the routines is completely different. Similarly, All Star routines do not include a cheer portion, which is something required in high school competition routines. I like the rules, regulations, certification process, and safety concerns with USASF a bit better than the high school as well.
What is the goal for you and the program this 1st year?
My goal is to provide a safe, home away from home, cheer gym for kids to participate in competitive cheer and tumbling. Our goal for the program is to put out a great product by showcasing the kids’ many talents! We hope to showcase the athletic ability of our athletes, their great respect for the sport and their phenomenal sportsmanship.
How have the area high school coaches responded?
Being I coached at the high school level for so many years, I have become friends with most of the veteran coaches. Due to this most have been very kind and supportive. However, it’s tough to lose a high school athlete to an All Star team; I know some local cheer programs have lost a few kids joining Rockford’s Royal Family.
How has the support been from parents, especially Guilford parents?
The support the parents have given me from the beginning has been overwhelming. The parents fought so hard for me that it was an easy transition to provide their children with the opportunity to participate in all Star cheerleading. It was at their urging I started this program. Several parents told the Guilford athletic director they would not allow their children to be coached by anyone but me. This was humbling and heart warming. The community also rallied around me which lit a fire underneath me to continue coaching. The Guilford parents allowed and encouraged their children to join Rockford’s Royal Family rather than continuing at Guilford due to my coaching methods, proven track record along with results, and the not so professional way the parents, kids and coaches were treated during Guilford’s inconsistent and unjust decisions towards cheerleading. Many of the kids on the Guilford cheer team participate in other sports and parents have voiced their dissatisfaction with these coaches and claim their kids are treated poorly and the school does nothing. This had led to even more support for me. Again, it’s a very humbling and wonderful feeling to have the backing of so many parents.
How has this experience changed you?
It made me realize how many hours I put in at Guilford high school without proper or sufficient support or backing. I gave 150% in and out of the school to build an extremely successful program. We hit many school milestones in my years with Guilford. We were the first team in school history to ever compete at the IHSA level and made it to the IHSA state championships four consecutive years. I took a non-existent program and made it into a successful one in a very short time! For this reason, it negatively changed my view on the politics of public schools and my belief is the administration cares more about a dollar than a child. It also made me realize my worth in this sport and know I deserve better than I was receiving. I would never coach for an RPS205 school again due to their treatment towards me, but more importantly to the 950 parents, RPS205 staff, athletes, community members and cheerleading advocates that signed a petition to keep me as the head cheerleading coach at Guilford. The prestigious cheer program I built died this season and that is definitely hard to see. However, this new endeavor has shown me a lesson I teach all the kids I coach –
when you get knocked down you get up and keep pushing and you become stronger. If you get knocked down seven times, you get up eight.
We will be competing at the “Windy City Challenge” at NIU on January 14, 2017.
The roster of Rockford’s Royal Family highest level team is as follows:
- Alexi Bladel – Guilford/Home schooled
- Aneia Kinard – Guilford
- Breezie Silvi – Guilford
- Cameran George – Eisenhower
- Cameron Morhardt – Guilford
- Da’Vonte Hawkins – Guilford
- Daniella Blanco – Guilford
- Eliah Mana – Auburn
- Hunter Bladel – Guilford
- Jade King – Eisenhower
- Jayden Downen – Guilford
- Joel Cordonnier – Guilford
- Lauren George – Guilford
- Mary Sturlin – Eisenhower
- McKenzie Wannahwilai Eisenhower
- Maya Cable – Guilford
- Meia Kinard – Guilford
- Miranda Brook -Guilford
- Matt Winkler – Graduated from Belvidere North
- Moeneka Kyles – Eisenhower
- Tae Phomsopha – Guilford
- Teagan Briggs – Guilford
Rockford’s Royal Family is located at:
7159 Lake Windsor Rd, Loves Park, IL 61111
Interested in being a part of Rockford’s Royal Family –
815-218-4761 or email : firstname.lastname@example.org