There is no shortage of big things happening for the Fairfield University Cheerleading Team. Two weeks ago, they traveled to Austin with the Fairfield women’s basketball team to the first round of the March Madness tournament. In eight days, the cheerleaders will attend the College National Cheerleading Tournament in Daytona, Fla. for their first time as a nationally competitive team. But one of the biggest bright spots of the team has to be Jenna Schlatter.
Schlatter brings so many things that make her a special part of her team. She has been cheering since the eighth grade, and cheered all four years of high school for Trumbull High. She has been cheering for Fairfield for the past three years. The other thing that makes Schlatter special is that she attends a Trumbull’s program for students with disabilities called ELITE.
She is a member of the TOPS class at Fairfield University which stands for Transition Opportunities for Postsecondary Success. This program was started in the fall of 2018 for students 18 to 21 years old to allow students to not only continue their academic work, but also learn from work experiences to help them succeed socially as well.
One of Schlatter’s teammates, Taylor Lewis ‘22, talked about the effect that Schlatter’s presence adds to the team, and on her specifically.
“My favorite thing about having Jenna as a teammate is that she truly embodies what it means to be a cheerleader and a good teammate,” Lewis said. “Jenna is full of energy and is passionate about making others smile and cheering others on.”
Besides just being on the cheer team, Schlatter is a familiar face all over campus.
She works in both the RecPlex and the Stag Spirit Shop on campus. She has a wide range of responsibilities at her work, but when asked what she does the most she explains, “Smile!” Her positive energy brings something so special to every room she walks into, including her places of work.
Despite everything she does, Schlatter loves being on the cheer team the most.
She is an integral part of the cheer team. Outside of cheer, dance is her favorite hobby and she brings so much joy to what she does. She has a love for cheerleading that is palpable when you see her on the court cheering on both the men’s and women’s teams.
Schlatter has also made incredibile impressions and relationships with her teammates during her time on the team. The best thing about being on the team for her, “…is getting to be with all my friends.”
These relationships are not only valued by Schlatter, but by all of her teammates. Lewis describes this bond, “I am truly grateful to have Jenna as a teammate but even more importantly as a friend. Jenna and I never fail to have fun.
There is a great value that comes with having someone like Schlatter, as a member of the team and representing all ability levels. Lewis explains, “She has taught me that we are all more alike than we are different and that true friendship has no boundaries.”
Schlatter brings a light with her everywhere she goes, and the cheerleading team allows that light to shine every time she steps out with the team.