It was about five years ago that Julie Robinson first saw the Georgia Northwestern Bobcat Cheer Cats in action.
Last week, she became the newest member to earn her paws.
The Ridgeland senior signed with GNTC during a ceremony at Ridgeland High School last week, surrounded by family, friends, coaches and teammates. She is the first cheer athlete to sign with the Cheer Cats for the 2018-2019 season.
"I was at one of the first Bobcat cheer events when I was in eighth grade and I never thought I would get the opportunity to do this," she beamed. "They all seem like such nice people and I'm really excited about all of this."
Robinson began her cheer career as a young girl in the recreation leagues.
"Julie is a strong athlete," Ridgeland head coach Abby Manus said. "She came back out and cheered for us this past year as a senior and earned the Coaches' Award. She's someone who represents our program extremely well. She does anything and everything that's asked of her, whether it's filling up a cooler or calling the cheers on Friday night.
"She's a back spot, so she's sort of the quarterback of the stunt groups. She did a great job of coordinating the stunts and lifting the flyers in the air. She's also a strong leader. She works hard and I think she can be the face of the (GNTC) program. She always has a smile on her face and she's ready to work hard."
Terrie Tanner, Robinson's coach at Chattanooga Valley Middle School was also on hand to see her former athlete sign on the dotted line.
"As a middle school coach, the one thing you want is to hope you can have an influence on at least one girl's life," she explained. "Seeing these girls grow up and become wonderful young ladies really touches my heart and to have them ask me to come to their signing is really such an honor. I'm truly blessed."
Cheer Cats head coach Karen Stoker said she was impressed with what she saw from Robinson during some Ridgeland football games this past fall and believes she will be "absolutely fantastic" as a leader for her squad.
"She's very tall and she's going to be a tremendous asset as a back spot," Stoker said. "We're really excited about that. She always has a smile on her face. The one you see on her face now is the same one she had every minute of her tryout."
Stoker added that Robinson "knocked it out of the park" when it came to her tryout.
"What really impressed me was that she came for her tryout and stayed for our entire practice," she continued. "She watched our entire practice and then did her tryout. She also attended some of our Bobcat basketball games this year so she could kind of check us out, which I think is always great. We're super excited to have her as our first signing of the year and I'm especially excited because the first cheerleader we ever signed was from Ridgeland."
"I try to be very encouraging and very supportive," Robinson added. "I like to be there for everyone. I just want to see everything work out so we can all be one big family."
Robinson plans to major in Early Childhood Education.