Most Valuable Cheerleader Jena Bushelman of Colerain High School

February 7, 2011

Colerain High School Cheerleader Jena Bushelman by Elite Photography

Squad: Colerain High School Varsity
Hometown: Cincinnati, OH
Class Year: Senior
Age: 18
College Plans: Ohio State or the University of Cincinnati
Career Plans: Wants to be an orthopedic surgeon specializing in spine
Jobs: Hostess at Outback Steak House
Family: One older sister and two younger brothers
Click here to see Jena’s entire shoot from Elite Photography

By Kristen Freund

Recovering from invasive spine surgery would be a great excuse to skip upcoming cheerleading tryouts. And it would certainly be a great excuse to forgo extra training to get the tumbling skills you needed to make the squad.

But it wasn’t an excuse for Jena Bushelman of Colerain High School — it was just a hurdle she was determined to clear.

Bushelman’s positive attitude and determination have seen her through not one, but two major back surgeries in her high school career. She and her family have made it through stressful times to see her cheer her senior year football season and be accepted into the honors programs at both the University of Cincinnati and The Ohio State University.

Bushelman started dancing in kindergarten, and once she was introduced to cheerleading, she fell in love with BushelmanJena--048-jh48athe idea that she could lead a crowd and get so much energy from a group from a single cheer. She tried out for her 8th grade squad and made the team. Since then, cheerleading has become her life.

Bushelman’s first surgery was in November of her sophomore year in high school — two of her vertebrae were surgically fused together. She knew that for tryouts in the spring of her junior year, her coaches were expecting tumbling skills. So, once she was cleared by her doctor, she learned how to tumble, never letting her surgery stop her. Her mom, whom she looks up to as her role model, was always there for her for support throughout each surgery and the recovery process. Her mom would always remind her, “This is not the end of your cheerleading career.” Because of her determination and support from her family, she was ready for tryouts the following spring and made the team.

Her most recent surgery was in December of 2010, and it has meant that she has to sit out the rest of the year of cheerleading while she recovers. However, she continues to cheer on her squad as they compete, as well as join in on the traditions that go along with being a Colerain Varsity cheerleader.

BushelmanJena--066Some of these traditions include singing the school’s Fight Song every time there’s a touchdown at football games — click here to watch Jena in the Colerain Fight Song! There are also plenty of gameday traditions that go along with Colerain’s well-known football program — the Cardinal cheerleaders do everything from make signs to bake treats for the football players. They also have team dinners every Thursday to bring the squad closer together. (Meet the whole Colerain squad here!)

Before her most recent surgery, Jena was prepping for college cheerleading at The Pride Cheer Academy, where she worked alongside her coach practicing college-level stunts and tumbling passes. Jena has made it a point to stay determined in recovering as fast as she can to get back to normal life as a cheerleader, and she looks forward to trying out to be a college cheerleader her sophomore year.

Bushelman has always been a very well-rounded, active student and athlete. She is a class officer in the student senate, where she is chair of the prom committee. She is also president of peer mediation and a part of the principal’s advisory council. In her spare time, she likes to dance, go shopping, scrapbook, color, and engage in any other type of crafty activity outside of school and cheer. Bushelman is always willing to help, encourage and support her fellow cheerleaders, coaches, friends and family, and she’s moving ahead to life in college with a strong interest in medicine. She’s now considering becoming a spine surgeon, herself.

Good luck, Jena, and Congrats from Cheer Cincy!

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Coach Ostertag February 8, 2011 at 11:43 am

I am so proud of you Jena. You will be greatly missed next year.

Uncle George February 10, 2011 at 3:11 pm

I’m very proud of you and I love you.

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