Students file into the gym; one after the other, searching for their friends amidst the crowd. Everyone is decked out in glittering gold, and the beating of drums are heard and they are felt. Some students take a seat, but most remain standing; anticipating the upcoming pep rally.
Students are celebrating varsity boys’ basketball going to state, and Junior Dawson Foster is there to hype everyone up as the pep rally’s MC.
“Are you flipping excited, because I’m flipping excited,” said Foster after completing an impressive round-off-back-handspring-layout.
Foster is known for his ability to engage others in school spirit, and he is a talented gymnast.
He has been doing competitive gymnastics since the age of 3. In 7th grade he quit, but last year he decided to give it another go… he now teaches gymnastics at ASI and cheers on our competitive cheer squad earning 2nd Team All-State this year.
“I like gymnastics because it’s different,” said Foster, “When asked ‘do you play any sports?’ I get to say something different rather than like, basketball, football or baseball, which are all great sports, but I like how unique gymnastics is.”
Foster has won the titles of “State Champion,” and “Regional Champion” on floor during his competition years, and he has won a total of 176 medals.
Foster makes flipping and flying through the air seem like a simple task, but a close friend of Dawson, Junior cheerleader Emily Brudi, reveals that this is not the case.
“When we were in 7th grade, I attended his gymnastic meets sometimes,” said Brudi. “One time he told me to jump on this springy thing and I thought it was a regular trampoline, so I jumped really hard and I flew off of it and hit my face on the ground. I almost died…man.”
Turns out, the spring board is what he used to launch into a vault, which is no small feat.
While Brudi didn’t cheer in competition, Dawson had the privilege of cheering alongside 14 other selected members of the squad and showing off his skills in competition this year. He was lucky enough to be the only Grace Prep cheerleader to receive an award.
“Every single girl on that team deserves an award in my book,” said Foster. “Sadly the judges don’t have the option to give everyone from the team an award. It was just such an honor to be recognized.”
Surprisingly, Foster didn’t always want to cheer. In fact, he looked down on it.
“Last year I was asked to compete and I said no, because gymnasts kind of have this predisposition about cheerleaders, so I never really liked it, but this year a new coach took over [Jen Boilla] that I’ve known for a really long time and she asked me to do it and I, very tentatively, said yes, and I ended up loving it and becoming best friends with every girl on the squad,” said Foster.
Being male and participating in a sport that is typically female, comes with its own struggles. When asked if people were mean to him because the sport wasn’t considered “manly” he didn’t hesitate with his answer.
“Oh my gosh, yes!” said Foster, who is pursuing the sport with his gymnastics talent, and breaking down stereotypes.
Foster reminds us all to do what you love, and love what you do.