As the 2017-18 high school sports seasons comes close to ending, two of Hope High School's recognizable student-athletes earned special honors as cheerleaders. Senior Tristen Jones and junior Jaidyn Simington both received high prestigious accolades during cheer season for this year's school year. Jones was selected as a 2018 Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star West Team Cheerleader and Simington earning All-State Cheer honors for the second time.

As the 2017-18 high school sports seasons comes close to ending, two of Hope High School's recognizable student-athletes earned special honors as cheerleaders. Senior Tristen Jones and junior Jaidyn Simington both received high prestigious accolades during cheer season for this year's school year. Jones was selected as a 2018 Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star West Team Cheerleader and Simington earning All-State Cheer honors for the second time.

Jones and Simington have been cheerleaders all throughout their years in high school and now are among several former Hope High School cheerleaders to be earn these accolades being apart of the cheer program in Hope.

As two standout cheerleaders included with Hope's electrifying and talented varsity Bobcats cheer team, they excelled with the entire team roster to achieve several high honors during the last summer camp and previous the competition season in the fall. Jones and Simington were apart of HHS cheerleaders finishing first place in their first competition of the season at Sheridan, also second place in Hope's final two competitions at OBU and the Spa City Classic held at Lake Hamilton High School before competing at the 2018 Arkansas Cheerleading State Championships in Hot Springs.

During the summer at cheer camp at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Jones and Simington were apart of HHS cheer team receiving The Herkie Team Award (highest achievement earned at camp). The team that worked the best together as well as the team with the best sportsmanship.). Also HHS was awarded the All-American Team Award, a bid to Nationals, second place in the Jam performance and Technical Excellence in Stunts Awards.

Jones and Simington are very appreciative to earn these accolades of honor amongst several awards they have achieved throughout cheering for Hope. 

For Jones, she has won the High Jumper award every year since the 10th grade. She made All-American 11th and 12th grade years, received the 5A All Conference Cheer Award for 2015-16 and 2016-17. Jones was also asked to tryout for the NCA (National Cheer Association) Staff and I made it. She will be working at cheer camps throughout the state this summer. Along cheerleading, Jones was honored as the 2017 Hope High School Homecoming Queen.

Simington also has achieved early success in cheerleading as this is the second time to receive All-State as she earned for the first time her freshman year. She also has been awarded All-Conference three consecutive years.


These honors have meant a lot to these two standout cheerleaders and it's proved their hard work ethic has paid off.

As Jones will be one of two senior cheerleaders from the 5A South Conference selected to the West All-Star Cheer Team, she looks forward to cheering for the final time of her high school career representing her hometown Hope in Conway this summer.

"Coming from a small town like Hope, it is an extremely amazing privilege to be nominated better yet asked to be put on the team. It is super exciting, and it shows that hard work and dedication does pay off. I'm just happy to be an example for all the younger cheerleaders that look up to me, " Jones said.

Simington continues to keep the focus on working hard to achieve more and earning All-State is very meaningful for a high honor in cheerleading.

"To get all state in cheer is such a huge honor to me. It makes me strive to do better every year. It’s really an indescribable feeling," Simington said.

As a senior, Jones will graduate in May and she's planning to continue her cheer career in college. Jones plans to become a Physician Assistant while attending Southern Arkansas University in the fall. She's trying out for SAU cheer team on April 21. Jones plans to take summer classes each year so she can graduate early. She plans to apply for UAMS's Physician Assistant program and hopefully graduate from there after two or three years.

It's not surprising Jones will be one of many Hope cheerleaders to be selected as All-Star Cheerleader due to having to passion, drive, talent ability and attitude she's shown throughout her years being apart of Hope High School cheer team.

"Originally, I participated in a competition cheer team and was not supposed to cheer for the school. I was told that it was just chanting, cheering, and pouncing around. Little did I know that little leap of faith I took in the eighth grade would change my life forever. HHS cheerleaders stand out amongst a lot of other teams because we're not just the stereotypical cheer team," Jones said.

"We work hard day in and day out, bond as a family, and support any sport or organization in any way we can. Being apart of Hope varsity has taught me responsibility and the true meaning of being a cheerleader," Jones said.

Having a tough, but passionate cheer coach has been challenging for Jones. Kirby Turner has been head cheer coach of Hope High School since Jones and Simington started out cheering on the varsity level. Both have appreciated Turner's philosophy for her cheerleaders to standout strong and be the best they can be. Although it been a challenging path to achieve success, Jones and Simington believed their head cheer coach wanted them to work hard to earn the accolades they've accomplished.

"I was pretty unsure about cheering my 10th grade year because I knew she was a tough coach, and I didn't know if I was ready for all that. Once again, I stepped out and tried out anyways and I am so grateful I did. She is a tough coach, but she's only like that because she wants us to fulfill the potential she knows is within us.," Jones said.

"She's not just yelling all the time either. We laugh and have a good time, but when it's time to get to business, it is time to work. I know that all of the seniors would let me speak for them and say she has pushed us to our limits but it was only for our greater good HHS Cheer wouldn't have the reputation and name it has without her putting in the time and effort she has," Jones said.

"Coach T has been the most influential person in my life regarding to cheer. Ever since I was a little kid her being a college cheerleader inspired me to become a cheerleader and I’ve been following in her footsteps since," Simington said.

Now that Jones will be of many to join several other great Hope cheerleaders to be selected at an All-Star, she hopes to leave a motivated and inspiring legacy for the future generation.

"I want to let other cheerleaders regardless of age know that they can be and achieve anything they could ever dream of if they dedicate themselves and persevere. Be there for your teammates, always stay positive, learn from mistakes, and have fun regardless of everything and what anyone thinks or says. I promise you my freshman year I wouldn't have ever thought I would be as accomplished in cheer as I am now," Jones said.

Simington will be entering her senior year next season and will be looked to be one of many leaders to take the high role of leadership to help Hope excel amongst all the top cheer teams in the Natural State and accomplish many more cheer honors as a HHS cheerleader.

"Going into my senior and final year, I’d like to accomplish many things. For one, winning the state cheer competition has been a goal of mine since I started to compete with varsity all the way back to my freshman year. Also getting the honor of all state cheer, and all conference is a goal of mine, and it’s always been a dream of mine to cheer in the all-star games," Simington said.

As the summer nears, Jones will represent in Conway for the 63rd anniversary of the Arkansas Army National Guard AHSCA All-Star games hosted at the University of Central Arkansas campus in June.

For Simington, cheerleading has been the primary focus for her activities at an early age. She looks to strive to be one of the best in the sport due to the love she desires for what cheerleading stands for student-athletes.

"I have a passion for cheer. I eat, sleep and breathe it. It’s my life. I started out in gymnastics at the age of five-years old, at the Southwest Arkansas Gymnastics Academy. Around when I was seven-years old, SAGA started an all star competition team and from then I fell in love with the sport of cheer. Cheerleading gives you another family. It is something that I look forward to doing. Even the long practices and full outs. Without cheer I wouldn’t be the person I am today," Simington said.