Kerry Arrington

Kerry Arrington

The cycle is both complete and ongoing for Kerry Arrington.

A former state championship-winning member of the Beech High School cheerleading squad in the mid-1990s, Arrington parlayed that experience into stints on both the MTSU and Tennessee Titans’ cheer squads.

In the process, Arrington formed the foundation for a career in the sport – and now almost three decades after that state title, Arrington has been honored by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association as an 2023-24 Distinguished Service Award recipient.

“I literally have been a part of this since 1995 in some capacity, so that has really been my journey through cheer and dance and how I’ve been associated,” said Arrington. “I did not envision this. Beech High School my senior year, we were 1996 state champions, I still sometimes see the plaque in the gym and think, ‘That’s me. I was a part of that.’

“I would not have envisioned at the time that I’m going to be a part of that for this long. I was in education for a few years as a teacher, truly education is a passion of mine and cheer and dance as well, but to now get to live that out every day is pretty cool and something pretty special to have been a part of it this long.”

Arrington is being recognized by the TSSAA for her enduring dedication to the sport, particularly as she has helped develop and grow the state’s cheer and dance competitions.

As part of that full-circle journey, Arrington – former cheerleader, coach, judge, tournament director – most recently got to add a new title: Parent of a competitor.

“This year for the very first time at the state championship in November, my own daughter (Chloe, Station Camp Middle) was a dancer, so I got to become parent,” said Arrington, whose family, husband, Clayton; son, Connor, and Chloe have been staples in her journey. “I literally have been a part of this since 1995 in some capacity, so that has really been my journey through cheer and dance and how I’ve been associated.

“I’ve had a special relationship working through the years with the TSSAA, from Mr. (Ronnie) Carter to Mr. (Bernard) Childress and now Mr. (Mark) Reeves.”

Arrington, who was the Tennessee Titans’ choice to represent the franchise in 2006 at the NFL Pro Bowl in Honolulu, has fashioned her childhood dream into a lifelong career because she has seen the enduring impact of cheerleading.

“Everything we do at Varsity Spirit, we saw and I truly mean it, we talk about elevating the student experience,” Arrington said. “When you look at cheerleaders and dancers, and I look at my own kid, to be something bigger than herself and truly represent something bigger than themselves, to wear their school across their chest or their back, it’s pretty cool.

“Our cheerleaders and dancers go to camp, when you bond, but that truly sets the stage for starting school and going into the year competing, it really is about elevating their experience. All that they do as cheerleaders and dancers, they’re ambassadors for their schools, represent their schools and going to camp and getting to compete at state level and regionals, it’s memories and it’s huge. And it’s really neat for me to look at my daughter in a brand-new program this year at Station Camp, when I see what cheer and dance does, what it does for young people, gives them a goal, discipline, really elevates their experience as a student. Which is pretty cool.”

TSSAA proudly salutes Kerry Arrington for her countless years of service and support for the growth of cheer and dance in the state of Tennessee.