FARMINGTON — The Jamie Beth Shible Scholarship was awarded to graduating senior Haley Walsh on Friday, May 28. The scholarship is awarded to a graduating cheerleader who is attending a higher-education institution in the fall in memory of Jamie, who passed away suddenly in 1997 at 17 years old.
Stephen and Julie Shible, Jamie’s parents, select a graduating cheerleader each year to receive the award because Jamie was a cheerleader on the Mt. Blue Cheerleading team and “really enjoyed and had a passion for cheering every year,” Julie said. The Shibles started the scholarship in 1998, awarding it that first year to Jamie’s friends on the team.
The Shibles awarded this year’s scholarship to Walsh because she “stood out as an all-around person in every way” and “her letter of what she got out of cheering, what cheering did for her just bypassed any other application we got.”
In her essay for the application, Walsh wrote about how cheering helped her become “less shy” and “has helped (her) grow as both a cheerleader and as a person.” Walsh also wrote about how she has been inspired by Jamie and her “positive attitude.”
“It meant a lot to have a figure like Jamie to look up to,” Walsh wrote to this publication. “She was a role model of what a great cheer captain should be, and that was the kind of captain I tried to be.”
It is the Shible’s last year handing out the award, though it will continue on. Next year, former Mt. Blue Cheerleading coach Holly Harrington will be in charge of awarding the $500 scholarship on behalf of the Shibles.
Julie said that they are handing off awarding duties to Harrington because they “don’t know the girls anymore” as they used to. Instead, the Shibles wanted someone “who really knows the girls…with a personalized look…to be picking them.”
Harrington coached Jamie when she was on the Mt. Blue Cheerleading team and has fond memories of their time together.
“Jamie was a character. I loved her sense of humor, her drive and determination,” she wrote. “Jamie was the type of person that would tell you like it is. She was like a daughter to me.”
Harrington considers her new role “an honor” and is eager to ensure the Shibles “that their daughter’s legacy is still carried on.” Harrington plays a video about Jamie each year for the Mt. Blue cheerleaders before a specific competition.
“The Shibles have done a lot for me personally and for the sport of cheerleading. I am happy to continue to do this for them,” Harrington wrote.
Harrington said that in collaboration with current coach Danielle Tannenbaum, she will select a recipient based on the “same qualities the Shibles looked for in an applicant.” Like the Shibles, Harrington will seek to select a “natural born leader” with a “great personality” who “helps team members” and “goes above and beyond in the sport of cheerleading.”