Donna North High School student I’Dasha Sorrell is making history at Donna ISD. The 18-year old senior is the first to receive a full academic scholarship to cheer at the collegiate level.
Sorrell made it official at a special ceremony held recently at the gymnasium. Before several classmates, administrators, coaches, friends and parents, Sorrell penned her signature on a Letter of Intent from Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas where she will join members of the Cardinal cheerleading squad.
“I was nervous and shaking the whole entire time,” Sorrell said. “But most of all, I just love the support that everybody has shown me now that I’m moving on to college. I have a lot to be proud of. I’m excited to be the first to win at regionals, first to go to state and first to hold the school record in the triple jump. But getting a scholarship to cheer is amazing. It is something that I will never forget.”
During her speech, Sorrell became emotional when she spoke about her accomplishments and what they mean to her and her family. She also paid tribute to a young girl and former cheerleading teammate who was struck and killed by a car during a fundraiser for their squad.
“She was a very good friend of mine,” Sorrell said. “We would cheer and tumble together. She would work hard to be the best in the sport. I’m dedicating my scholarship in her honor. I know she is watching over me from above and happy for me.”
Sorrell said she was drawn to cheerleading and tumbling at a very young age. “When I was about nine months old, I would watch my older brother who was in cheerleading do cartwheels and handstands,” Sorrell said. “I’m a visual learner so I started following and doing everything he was doing. My mom noticed and said ‘you know what, I’m going to put you in cheerleading too.’ So, she did. She had me take private lessons here and there.”
When Sorrell turned 3, her mother signed her up with the privately owned cheerleading team Valley All Stars. “I joined the pee wees,” Sorrell said. “My tumbling progressed and at the age of 5, I started tumbling with the 12- and 13-year-olds. I was in an environment where I belonged. My brother was with me throughout those years. He was my base and we were tumbling partners. That’s what made it more comforting knowing that my brother was there.”
At 8-years-old, Sorrell joined the Valley Cheer Elite Inferno and has been there ever since. The team has competed numerous times and done well over the years. Some of their accomplishments include winning three titles at the NCA All-Star National Championship in Dallas, Texas and two at The Summit All-Star Cheerleading Competition in Orlando, Fla.
While Sorrell’s time as a member of the cheer team have been enjoyable, her experiences as a middle school student weren’t so pleasant. As a young girl of color, Sorrell said she was picked on. She decided to drop out and chose to be home schooled by one of her cheerleading coaches who had a teaching degree. She did that for her entire sixth grade year.
Then she went back and started seventh grade. “My mom encouraged me to go back and get into sports,” Sorrell said. “So, I did. I got involved in volleyball, basketball and track. People stopped picking on me. Some of them even came to me and apologized for the things they had said to me.”
In high school, Sorrell joined the DNHS cheerleading squad but only during her freshmen and junior years. Instead, she chose to remain with Valley Cheer Elite, the team that got her noticed and is making college affordable for her and her family. “Some college coaches attend All-Star cheer competitions and find talent,” Sorrell said. “That’s how I was found so it is possible for a cheerleader to get a scholarship and be able to pursue a college degree.