+
upworthy
Joy

Her entire squad quit before the state cheerleading competition. She cheered anyway.

"I've put a lot of time into cheer. It's just always been a part of who I am, so I didn't want to end on that note."

cheerleading; cheer competition; Morrill High School; cheered alone

Her entire squad quit before the state cheerleading competition.

Cheerleading is supposed to be a team activity. Most squads have anywhere from 10 to 20 cheerleaders and some have even more than that. But one squad in Nebraska had just four girls, and less than two weeks before the Nebraska State Cheer and Dance Championships, all but one cheerleader had quit.

Most kids would've followed suit so close to a big competition and without teammates, but Katrina Kohel, a senior at Morrill High School, decided she was still going to compete—even if it meant she would have to do it alone. Talk about being brave in the face of disappointment. This girl decided she was going to cheer in the competition and she did, without much care for what others thought.

The competition wasn't just the next town over. It was five hours away, so Kohel and her coach, April Ott, really had to mull it over before committing to making that drive, according to Business Insider. In the end, the teen decided that she didn't want to just sit in the crowd or stay home; she wanted to perform the routine she spent so much time learning. But the routine required the entire squad, so before they could make the trip, they had to figure out how to make it a one-person routine.


"I've put a lot of time into cheer. It's just always been a part of who I am, so I didn't want to end on that note. I wanted to go out on a high one. For that to come true, I didn't want to end it just by going to watch state. I wanted to compete." Kohel told Business Insider. So the lone cheerleader and her coach got to work redoing the routine so it made sense with just one person cheering.

The pair told the Omaha World-Herald that they had to rework the whole performance in a week and a half. It was really a battle of sheer will since Kohel was determined to do her best on the mat without her team. Kohel admitted to the outlet that she was nervous, but no one would have known it.

"She was completely confident the whole week that we practiced," Ott told Business Insider. "It was just 100% confidence, and she just owned it."

This cheerleader was absolutely unstoppable and she had her family's full support. Even Ott's daughter, who was previously a cheerleader at the same high school, tagged along to cheer her on. Kohel's grandparents stood in for her parents because her brother had a state wrestling tournament and her parents are the coaches. But don't worry, they were able to see her cheer through Facebook Live.

Support didn't only come from her family and coach, as other cheerleaders piled into her section and cheered for the brave solo cheerleader. Darin Boysen, executive director of the Nebraska Coaches Association, told the Omaha World-Herald that this was the first time a cheerleader competed alone.

But she didn't just compete—she placed 8th out of 12 squads, which is the highest Morrill High School has placed in the last three years.

"It's almost overwhelming, the amount of support I got from all of them," Kohel explained to Business Insider. "The whole arena was cheering me on. It wasn't just one little section—it was the whole arena."


This article originally appeared on 3.2.23

True

Do you ever feel like you could be doing more when it comes to making a positive impact on your community? The messaging around giving back is louder than ever this time of year, and for good reason; It is the season of giving, after all.

If you’ve ever wondered who is responsible for bringing many of the giving-back initiatives to life, it’s probably not who you’d expect. The masterminds behind these types of campaigns are project managers.

Using their talents and skills, often proven by earning certifications from the Project Management Institute (PMI), project managers are driving real change and increasing the success rate on projects that truly improve our world.

To celebrate the work that project managers are doing behind the scenes to make a difference, we spoke with two people doing more than their part to make an impact.

In his current role as a Project Management Professional (PMP)-certified project manager and environmental engineer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Joshua Williard oversees the cleanup of some of America’s most contaminated and hazardous waste sites.

Courtesy of Joshua Williard

“Recently, I was part of a four-person diving team sent to collect contaminated sediment samples from the bottom of a river in Southeastern Virginia. We wanted to ensure a containment wall was successfully blocking the release of waste into an adjacent river,” Williard says.

Through his work, Josh drives restoration efforts to completion so contaminated land can again be used beneficially, and so future generations will not be at risk of exposure to harmful chemicals.

“I’ve been inspired by the natural world from a young age and always loved being outside. As I gained an understanding about Earth's trajectory, I realized that I wanted to be part of trying to save it and keep it for future generations.

“I learned the importance of using different management styles to address various project challenges. I saw the value in building meaningful relationships with key community members. I came to see that effective project management can make a real difference in getting things done and having on-the-ground impact,” Williard says.

In addition, Monica Chan’s career in project management has enabled her to work at the forefront of conservation efforts with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-US). She most recently has been managing a climate change project, working with a diverse team including scientists, policy experts, data analysts, biologists, communicators, and more. The goal is to leverage grants to protect and restore mangroves, forests, and ecosystems, and drive demand in seaweed farming – all to harness nature's power to address the climate crisis.

Courtesy of Monica Chan

“As the project management lead for WWF-US, I am collaborating across the organization to build a project management framework that adapts to our diverse projects. Given that WWF's overarching objectives center on conserving nature and addressing imminent threats to the diversity of life on Earth, the stakes are exceptionally high in how we approach projects,” says Chan.

“Throughout my journey, I've discovered a deep passion for project management's ability to unite people for shared goals, contributing meaningfully to environmental conservation,” she says.

With skills learned from on-the-job experience and resources from PMI, project managers are the central point of connection for social impact campaigns, driving them forward and solving problems along the way. They are integral to bringing these projects to life, and they find support from their peers in PMI’s community.

PMI has a global network of more than 300 chapters and serves as a community for project managers – at every stage of their career. Members can share knowledge, celebrate impact, and learn together through resources, events, and other programs such as PMI’s Hours for Impact program, which encourages PMI members to volunteer their time to projects directly supporting the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“By tapping into PMI's extensive network and resources, I've expanded my project management knowledge and skills, gaining insights from seasoned professionals in diverse industries, including environmental management. Exposure to different perspectives has kept me informed about industry trends, best practices, and allowed me to tailor my approach to the unique challenges of the non-profit sector,” Chan says.

“Obtaining my PMP certification has been a game-changer, propelling not only my career growth, but also reshaping my approach to daily projects, both personally and professionally,” Chan says. Research from PMI shows that a career in project management means being part of an industry on the rise, as the global economy will need 25 million new project professionals by 2030 and the median salary for project practitioners in the U.S. is $120K.

PMI’s mission is to help professionals build project management skills through online courses, networking, and other learning opportunities, help them prove their proficiency in project management through certifications, and champion the work that project professionals, like Joshua and Monica, do around the world.

For those interested in pursuing a career in project management to help make a difference, PMI’s Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification could be the starting point to help get your foot in the door.

Health

Interesting video explains why people looked a lot older in the past than they do today

Were people unhealthy? Did they spend too much time in the sun?

Norm was only in his 30s?

Ever look at your parents' high school yearbooks and think people looked so much older back then? All of the teenagers look like they’re in their mid-30s and the teachers who are 50 look like they’re 80.

When we watch older movies, even those from the 1980s, the teenagers appear to be a lot older as well.

Why is it that they looked so much older? Was life harder? Did people act more mature? Did they spend more time outdoors and less time playing video games? Is it their sense of fashion? Were they all smokers?

Keep ReadingShow less
Education

Over-the-top school dress-up weeks have parents feeling grinchy

The holidays are busy enough without throwing "dress as your favorite Christmas song" into the mix.

Time to rein in the school dress-up days, folks.

Hey, kids! Happy December! We know that school can feel like drudgery, and it's been a few months since school started, and we want you to not hate coming here, so we decided to do something fun and festive that we think will create a sense of school pride and spirit! It's school dress-up week!

What this means is that during the busiest time of the year, when your parents are already up to their ears in holiday prep, shopping for and wrapping gifts, planning and attending work parties and end-of-year recitals and concerts, trying to navigate the emotional complexities of holiday family drama, trying to make your Christmas magical by moving that frickin' Elf on the Shelf every night, etc., we're going to add to the to-do list by pressuring them to help you come up with specific outfits to wear to school for an entire week. Doesn't that sound neat?

Dress-up weeks are fun on paper, and they can be fun when they're kept super simple. "Wear red or green!" is easy enough. "Dress as your favorite Christmas character!" though? Not so much.

Keep ReadingShow less
Science

MIT’s trillion-frames-per-second camera can capture light as it travels

"There's nothing in the universe that looks fast to this camera."

Photo from YouTube video.

Photographing the path of light.

A new camera developed at MIT can photograph a trillion frames per second.

Compare that with a traditional movie camera which takes a mere 24. This new advancement in photographic technology has given scientists the ability to photograph the movement of the fastest thing in the Universe, light.

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

Imagine you're getting ready to drop some bad news on someone. Say, breaking off a months-long relationship.

"I'm not sure how to say this," you start. "This has been really great. Dating you has been a lot of fun. You're really wonderful. And—" You roll out a string of platitudes and compliments, dreading and delaying the part that comes next, when you finally say "It's over."

You think you're being nice. Protecting their feelings. You don't want to be coldhearted, right?

Keep ReadingShow less

A demonstration of the Satellite Shelter.

When blizzards line up to rip through the Northeast, schools close, flights are canceled, and people even board up their houses. Though missions and homeless shelters do what they can to provide safety to those who have no homes to go to, thousands of people still have to weather the cold outside.

At Carnegie Mellon University's 2015 Impact-a-Thon, students were challenged to provide a temporary low-cost shelter for homeless people during the winter.
Keep ReadingShow less
Identity

My wife surprised her coworkers when she came out as trans. Then they surprised her.

She was ready for one reaction but was greeted with a beautiful response.

All photos by Amanda Jette, used with permission.

Zoe comes out to her coworkers.


Society, pay attention. This is important.

My wife, Zoe, is transgender. She came out to us — the kids and me — last summer and then slowly spread her beautiful feminine wings with extended family, friends, and neighbors.

A little coming out here, a little coming out there — you know how it is.

Keep ReadingShow less