By: Ruby Arani/ GCU Staff
Haven Parish is the new head coach of the Grand Canyon University Spirit Club. Parish has been a part of the cheer world for most of her life, and brings her talents and experience to GCU.
I recently sat down with Parish to see what that experience will mean as she takes over the reins of the spirit program.
Ruby Arani: What got you into cheer?
Haven Parish: I started at the age of three-always flipping around the house. So my mom decided to put me in tumbling for about three years. At six, my mom asked me would I like to go into cheerleading or gymnastics. I picked cheerleading, continued with it, and fell in love with it. I am still doing it to this day and I am 28.
RA: What is your favorite part about competing?
HP: The reward for all your hard work. For cheerleading, you train so hard for a two-minute-and-thirty-second routine. We spend so much time working on this routine, and to finally go out and show our talents and all that hard work to the people watching is the best part.
RA: What made you want to become a coach?
HP: I always wanted to coach. I was always that athlete helping my teammates to do their best, playing that captain position. I always knew that teaching was my direction. I got my degree in teaching-as well to help with coaching.
RA: What is your favorite part about coaching?
HP: Seeing those kids that you made an impact on later in life, and the kids who come back and say, “Thanks for pushing me.” I love seeing the kids I coach cheer in college, and even continue that career (after that).
RA: As a new coach for GCU, what are your goals for the Spirit Club program?
HP: (The) goals this year are to get a uniform look, make sure we are on point at games and performances, that people notice us, and really build our fundamental side so down the road, we can be very successful in competing. For the long term goals, I would want the GCU Spirit Club to compete in stunting competitions, as well as going to Daytona Beach, FL for the NCA and NDA Collegiate Nationals.
RA: What competitions or events can we expect to see the GCU Spirit Club at this year?
HP: We will be doing USA local competitions and Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA). We will be doing the All Things Cheer competition as well. These will be our top competitions and events that the GCU spirit club will be attending. My plan is to fundraise with the team, and if we can meet our fundraising goal, then we will travel to an out-of-state competition.
RA: How excited are you to start this new season?
HP: I am very excited. Super excited! I am ready to start this season. I can’t wait to start practice so we can start getting ready for this new season!
RA: You said traveling is a big hobby of yours. Where has been your favorite place to travel?
HP: Definitely Australia. I go to Perth, Australia every year to coach cheer and choreography. That is what I do. I travel the world and coach what I love!