— Laverne Burrus-Johnson
PETERSBURG, VA, USA, January 4, 2024 /EINPresswire.com/ — In honor of their exceptional coach and the enduring foundation she established, some ladies from Spirit 1994 Virginia State University cheerleaders, affectionately known as “Woo Woos,” find it fitting to harness the current buzz surrounding their HBCU viral photo that landed on the popular Twitter page, 247 Live Culture. The viral photo post garnered over 2 million views.
In 1974, under the guidance of Dr. Paulette Walker-Johnson, the Virginia State College cheerleading squad (renamed to University in 1979) became known as The Woo Woos. Dr. Walker-Johnson instilled precision and grace in the team, fostering a culture of excellence. The Woo Woos gained collegiate renowned for their distinctive stomp shake style, and the coach played a pivotal role in shaping every aspect of their presentation, from attire to game day poise and presence.
“Words will never express how humbling it was after all these years to wear a cheerleading uniform that symbolizes so much to so many. Thirty years ago, I was afforded an opportunity to experience a school, a cheerleading program, and a Coach that transformed my and many other lives. I am proud and honored to be part of the VSU family.” -Laverne Burrus-Johnson.
This cultural highlight moment coincides with the organization’s 50th anniversary and the spirit squad of 1994 personal milestone of 30 years as proud members. Embracing their motto, “Once a Woo Woo, Always a Woo Woo,” they’ve decided to don their uniforms once more to recreate the iconic 1995 picture. “I’m proud and honored to be a part of the Woo Woo fifty-year legacy. Recreating the photo brings back the memories of togetherness, strength and leadership shared between my fellow Woo Woo sisters” Maketah Wyatt.
Their goal is to humbly seize this opportunity to raise funds, with intent to contribute to the current cheerleading program.
“As we commemorate our 30-year class journey, we aspire to raise a minimum of $30,000 in donations to assist with our beloved Virginia State University Woo Woo program—as cheerleaders do not receive scholarships for cheering like many other athletes.
Tawanna Tynes also expresses overwhelming joy, not only for her 30 years as a Woo Woo but also for Dr. Johnson’s pivotal role in celebrating 50 years of a legacy entrusted to her by God. Optimistic for a successful fundraising campaign, the ladies’ end goal is to collectively present the donation check during this year’s homecoming.
Reflecting on the importance of a cheerleading program founded on substance, team members like Bonika Wilson credit Dr. Johnson for teaching them how to carry themselves as respectable young women, give back to the community, and prioritize self-love.
As an extension of the university organization, the cheerleaders host a summer cheer camp geared toward aspiring high school students from surrounding states. The camp not only imparts cheerleading skills but also emphasizes the importance of character and community service.
The team’s commitment to excellence and giving back draws people in, making the selection process highly competitive. Bonika Wilson recalls the rigorous tryouts and the honor of being among the 15 chosen out of over 75 hopefuls in her year, one of the largest squads invited at the time.
With true HBCU alumni dedication, the “viral” cheerleaders will spearhead the 2024 fundraising campaign making personal donations. Individuals wishing to support the fundraising efforts are encouraged to contact: [email protected].
For media and interview requests for Bonika, Maketah, Tawanna, and Laverne, contact: [email protected].
Synergy PR Services