Rogers High School cheerleaders won’t be outclassed by anyone when they take the field this fall.
The 14-member squad now has four sets of new uniforms – worth nearly $30,000 – thanks to the generosity of two 1961 Rogers alums who met as high school sweethearts and have never lost a fierce loyalty to their old school.
“We are going to look so much better than all of the other schools,” said Charisse Myers, a senior and co-captain of the squad.
The new uniforms include skirts, shells, body liners, warm up jackets, Nike cheer shoes and pants, all from Varsity, a leading uniform maker.
Just one three-piece outfit – suitable for warm weather or indoors – costs $300.
Counting their useable old uniforms, the girls now have six different outfits, enough to look sharp at every event even when their schedule puts them in four different venues during one week in January.
The result, said senior co-captain Kaylee Raymond, is “we’re going to be louder. We’ll feel more confident and stuff.”
The gift came from Rich and Donna Naccarato, who wanted to make a contribution in time for completion of $70 million remodeling and expansion of the landmark 1932 high school at 1622 E. Wellesley Ave. The two-phase project is scheduled for completion later this year.
Rich Naccarato said he and his wife were talking about what they could do to help the school and they hit on the idea of contributing to the cheerleaders because they “are kind of the point persons for purple pride.”
They met with the cheerleaders earlier this year and one of the girls, with tears in her eyes, said that the Rogers squad is often subjected to put-downs when they cross the field for a cheer in front of opposing fans.
“I can’t tell you how much that bothered us,” Naccarato said, adding that he decided, “I’m not going to let that happen again.”
A former running back and student body president, Naccarato went on to play football at the University of Idaho and eventually returned to Rogers to teach and coach football in the early 1970s. He is now a successful real estate developer.
Donna Naccarato was a Rogers cheerleader and Girls League secretary who supported her husband through college and works with him in their business. She is still known for having a competitive spirit. She said she fondly remembers performing in front of large crowds at Albi Stadium and the old Coliseum, which was torn down for the current Arena.
“It’s a reward for us to see them so excited,” she said.
Nancy Scissons, adviser to the squad, said she initially thought the Naccaratos were offering a modest contribution of maybe a couple hundred dollars, and was amazed when she learned they wanted to fully outfit the girls. They told Scissons they wanted the girls to have the best-looking outfits in the Greater Spokane League. “They insisted on buying everything,” she said, including the sparkly gold underwear known as “spankies” that cost $56 for a pack of three.
Normally, the cheerleaders hold fundraisers to buy uniforms and then end up paying for much of their own equipment, including shoes. As a result, they didn’t have rain jackets, matching cold weather pants or extra outfits for back-to-back events. The bottom line was the girls were often shivering at late-fall football games.
They are going to have a new attitude when they take the field on Sept. 5 at Albi against Central Valley High School, which is known for having some of the best outfits in the league.
“We’ve got some pretty happy girls,” Scissons said.
The Naccaratos both said they want to encourage other parents to help the school in whatever ways they can, and Rich Naccarato said he asked the girls to repay the favor to the school when they get older.
He said the school was pivotal for their successes since graduation.
“We had great teachers,” he said.
Donna Naccarato said she wants the attention to be placed on the girls. “It’s not about us. It’s about them,” she said.