Laura Hawkins Leads FHN Student Section

Donnell Hawkins’ mom, Laura Hawkins, cheers along side the Goonies at the varsity football game against Fort Zumwalt South. Hawkins has come up with some of the chants the Goonies cheer. The Knights won 43-27. (Photo by Sam Alexander)
Laura Hawkins cheers alongside the Goonies at the varsity football game against FZS (Sam Alexander)

Bright lights, whistles blowing and crowds cheering. These are all to be expected at high school football games. But one voice stands out above the rest. Laura Hawkins, senior Donnell Hawkins’ mom, is the person who decides what cheers to do and when to do them for the student section.

“I started leading the cheers in the student section when Donnell was a freshman,” Laura said. “I wanted to support my son first of all, and then again, it’s in me. I’m a cheerleader. You know, 52. I’m a cheerleader, I’m a cheerleader at heart. And my mouth is big.”

In a spur-of-the-moment decision, Laura stood up and took control of the student section, and it’s only gone up from there. For the next three years, Laura has gotten the crowd going and has helped the players feel support.

“I feel like there is somebody in the stands that does have my back and is always there for me,” Donnell said. “Without her there, it’s kinda down and depressing.”

Laura uses her background as a cheerleader to stir up school spirit. Because she was a cheerleader, she has the skills to get everyone excited.

“I like how involved she gets,” senior and Goonies leader Nicolas Savala said. “When I do the chants, sometimes it falls flat, but when she does the chant, everyone gets in on it because everyone is like, ‘Oh, that’s Donnell’s mom.’”

Laura’s passion and energy allows the student section to get more involved in the game and understand what’s happening on the field. When the student section starts to get loud, the football team responds and tries to score. When they score, the crowd gets louder, so they end up encouraging each other.

“Everyone loves her and her energy always gets everyone up even when we’re losing,” junior Jordan Chapple said. “She adds a bunch of positive energy.”

It is unusual to see parents take the task of leading the student section, but Laura will do whatever it takes to help the football team win.

“I think she’s trying to bridge a gap between our spectators and our student fans so anytime we can have that happen will always be a positive,” Activities Director Mike Janes said.

The whole goal for Laura was to get the student section interested in what was going on in the game, and by doing that, she was able to support the football team. By having a cheering crowd, the team is able to get excited and try and score to keep the energy going.

“If we’re loud and radical and all of that, that gets them fired up out there and the crowd and the school fired up, and I believe that sometimes that helps them win,” Laura said.