Thornton Academy cheerleading traces its roots to the fall of 1938 when teacher Harriet Desmond offered the first fall program. During that season, the cheerleading squad supported the Thornton Academy football team by providing sideline cheers and adding to the overall school spirit at home games played on the site of the Rite Aid (located on the east side of Main Street). This was the home of fall cheerleading until football games debuted at Hill Stadium in September of 1980.
Today Thornton Academy fall cheerleading holds true to its original form. The Golden Trojan squad cheers at all home and away varsity football games and continues its longtime traditions of creating “candy bags” for football players and coaches. The dances and cheers performed by the team are not unlike those that have been used for decades. A Thornton Academy touchdown, for example, is accompanied by the traditional T-H-O-R-N-T-O-N cheer to the beat of the pep band’s drums. Thornton Academy also sponsors a fall junior varsity team that follows the home schedule of the junior varsity football team.
Thornton Academy also offers a cheerleading program during the winter season. Since the 1955-1956 season, Golden Trojan winter cheerleading squads have performed at regular season home and playoff basketball games. Today the program cheers on the efforts of both the boys and girls programs.
The winter cheerleading program also includes a competition element that was initiated by the Maine Principals’ Association (MPA) in 1987. Competition cheerleading incorporates a number of elements, including gymnastics, dance, and sideline cheer, into a three-minute choreographed routine. The Thornton Academy competition cheerleading team competes in a number of invitational events (such as the Maine Cheerleading Coaches Association competition and Cheers from the Heart), the SMAA league championships, and the Class A South regional meet. The top six teams in the regional competition qualify for the Class A state championships held at the Augusta Civic Center and Cross Insurance Center (Bangor) in alternate years. The junior varsity squad also supports junior varsity basketball games and participates in several competitions during the winter season.
Thornton Academy cheerleading has been consistently competitive in recent years at the conference and regional levels. The Golden Trojans won the SMAA championship in 2019 and were league runners-up in 2017. Thornton has qualified for the Class A state championships on 13 occasions, including eight of the last nine seasons. In 2018 the program earned its first appearance at the New England Interscholastic Championships.
All practices take place at Linnell Gymnasium. There are tryouts for selection to the varsity and junior varsity squads. Separate tryout processes take place during the fall and winter seasons.