Juggling school, work, kids, cheerleaders

Regina Young’s voice cuts through the snapping of sneakers against floor mats and the muffled murmuring of teenage girls.

“Keep your head up,” Young yells. “Watch those facial expressions!”

She smooths back her honey-blonde hair and pauses between shouts to comfort a girl who lost her footing.

It is 4:05 p.m. Young has finished her day at work as a teacher at Rivendell and is beginning her second job – coaching Warren East High School’s nationally ranked cheerleading squad.

Coaching is actually one of the least hectic parts of the day for this single mother of three. The 34-year-old splits time between being a full-time employee at Rivendell, a cheerleading coach, a devoted mother and a student.

Young is still taking classes on the Hill, working toward an endorsement in special education. She has already completed her master’s degree and received her Rank 1 in special education at Western.

She said she chose to go into special education because she has a nephew with special needs.

“I like the challenge of it,” she said.

Young works at Rivendell with children who have special mental health needs.

“It’s really just the best job I’ve ever had,” she said.

Not that taking care of children is anything new. Young got married after graduating high school and later divorced. She wanted to go to college but was worried about the strain it would put on her family, which had grown to include three children.

“I wouldn’t sacrifice my kids to go back to school,” she said.

When Young finally decided to enroll at Western, she looked to those around her for support.

“My mom babysat,” she said. “I would come home and do homework after I put the kids to bed.”

Young completed her bachelor’s degree in three and a half years, graduating in 1996. As an undergraduate, she averaged 21 credit hours a semester, and today she juggles four separate responsibilities. But she still manages to find time for a social life.

“I’m dating the greatest person in the world,” Young said of her boyfriend of over a year.

A career, a social life, motherhood and a passion for a sport that some call pointless fill her days.

“Cheerleaders are athletes,” Young said. “They work as hard as any football or basketball player.”

Young was a member of Warren East’s cheerleading squad when she was in high school, and she pushes squad members to take pride in everything they do.

“I’m really strict, yes I’m hardcore and yes I’m very intense,” she said.

Holly Bryce, a member of the squad and a senior at Warren East, agrees.

“I like her a lot, she’s a real good coach,” Bryce said. “I like the way she makes us mind.”

So as Young continues to pursue her dreams, she encourages others to pursue theirs – at work, at home.

Reach Adriane Hardin at [email protected]