Ashley Matthews is one of our franchisees and an awesome Major Cheer coach. Our students and parents LOVE Ashley and we are so glad to have her on our team! To learn a bit more about Ashley, we had her answer a few questions and we think you’ll love it just as much as we do.
How did you meet Stacey?
I met Stacey at a “try it, see if you like it” class at Haile Middle School. I was just entering the 7th grade so I would have been 12 years old. I did the hour class along with 50+ girls and decided to come back for more. From there on, Stacey was my cheerleading coach for the next 5 years (with me cheerleading at a different school my freshman year).
What impact has cheerleading had on your life?
Cheerleading made a huge impact on my life. I was introduced to cheerleading when I was in the 6th grade and cheered every year through my senior year of High school. Stacey, being my coach for most of my cheerleading years, made a big impact on the young woman I was growing into. Stacey has a mentor like personality and she pushed me to be the best me that I could be. By always taking her advice I became very confident and motivated to be the best that I could be, (in every aspect of this world, not just cheerleading).
My junior year I was crowned the first homecoming queen at Braden River High. I believe I won not because of popularity; I won because I respected my peers and had a wide range and variety of friends. I was nice to everybody. Something I was taught as a kid and something Stacey continued to teach in cheerleading class. She always said, “treat others the way you would want to be treated”. She always told us (cheerleaders) that we are always being watched. We represented the school so that was a big responsibility for us. She was big on appearance, self-respect and holding a respectable reputation.
At different cheerleading camps I won a variety of awards, (best all around, leadership, and dance). I know I put in the work, but I also know a lot of my cheerleading success is because of Stacey, who has very unique coaching skills.
My senior year I was chosen to be auctioned at the senior auction, where my fellow cheerleaders and Stacey were there to cheer me on. I also got the sportsmanship award my senior year at our first annual sports awards banquet. Lastly, I was chosen as most spirited for senior superlatives. All of these accomplishments and awards wouldn’t have been possible without me having the confidence I had endured throughout my years of cheering with Stacey.
What made you decide to get involved in the business aspect of Major Cheer?
I had helped Stacey numerous times coaching after school programs and also at summer camps. I would say that cheerleading was my life. I enjoyed it. I used to always tell myself “I wish I could do what Stacey does for a living”. Who wouldn’t want to love what they do for work, right?! When the opportunity to become a Major Cheer Franchise owner became available, I didn’t even have to think about it. I knew it was a big decision to become a franchisee but I also knew it was going to be a positive new beginning for me.
How has this decision impacted your life?
This decision has impacted my life in only positive ways. I can now be home at night with my children because the hours for coaching MAJOR CHEER allow you to do so. I also can say that while you do put in hard work at home for the business, it is all worth it to me when I get to practice and turn on the music. Of course, being able to do what I love and make a good living at the same time is a very positive impact as well.
What would you say to someone interested in becoming a franchisee?
I would tell them that number one, they have to love what they do in order to be good at it. They also should know that there is work to put in at home, and sometimes there are difficult decisions to be made. Being organized, loving what you do, making sure the cheerleaders have a great time at class and being able to deal with a huge variety of people is the biggest thing to remember.
What would you tell 16-year-old Ashley?
When I was 16 years old, I was in high school and I was involved in cheerleading and weightlifting. I was very much into cheerleading, I stayed after school for Varsity and also stayed after to help Stacey with Pee-Wee pirates (an after school cheer program Stacey held at the high school). I am 29 years old now and am doing what I enjoyed doing 13 years ago.
Who do you think would benefit or love being a franchisee?
I believe a person who loves the sport of cheer and loves kids would enjoy being a franchisee.
What are the best things about this program? What, if anything, has been a huge surprise?
The best thing about this program is that I can get my work done at home for the business, which is a huge benefit because I have a 3 year old son who is not in daycare or school. I get to coach young cheerleaders who are so eager to be at practice and learn; that is such a reward to me. I love what I do for a living. Major Cheer provides a great income and allows me time to be a mom. That is the most rewarding thing about MAJOR CHEER.