Oakmont cheers 25-year anniversary of ‘Weaster’
Two walls in Jenny Weast’s classroom at Oakmont High School are packed with framed team photos, calendars from the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals and college teams. There are wedding and baby pictures, too.
Another wall is all apples: decorations, displays, big apples and little apples — most of them gifts.
Walls tend to fill over 25 years.
“I love working with the kids,” the math teacher said Monday. “This way, I have hundreds of kids. Bunch of grandkids. I have all kinds.”
Weast is celebrating her silver anniversary as the advisor to Oakmont Cheer & Stunt.
Known as “Weaster” to most, she has watched her squad grow from about 20 in her first year to a coed team of 87 this year. Most cheer for football and basketball, while a few do competitions only, including regionals and nationals in the United Spirit Association.
While cheerleading has grown, so has the cost, and Oakmont has scheduled a fundraiser to help celebrate Weast’s 25 years. “Weaster’s Walk” will be held at Maidu Park on Saturday. It’s a fun run for kids at 8 a.m., followed by an adult 5K at 8:45.
Proceeds will benefit Oakmont cheer and another organization Weast holds close to her heart: Disabled Sports USA Far West.
Weast is a quadriplegic. She was injured in a snow skiing accident at Alpine at the age of 16. She said she had a mental block to go skiing again. Combined with her staying busy as a teacher, skiing “got pushed down the list.”
Today, it’s her winter passion again.
Weast said a brother ran into an old mutual friend a couple of years ago, and the two got Weast on skis.
“It was unlike anything I ever thought it would be,” said Weast, who also skydives and snowmobiles. “The second they got you on the ski lift, it was just like 30 years had vanished. Now, I’m snow skiing again, water skiing again. You can go just about as fast as you want.”
Her cheer teams seem to go higher and higher as they grow. Weast said gymnastics is a much greater part of cheerleading today, and pyramids are more difficult.
“When we started, there was one page of rules. Now, there’s a good 10 pages of rules,” she said.
Weast has watched her cheerleaders move from Oakmont to the pros. In the 1990s, Talli (Dahlberg) Hunter became a Raiderette, Kristin (Beisel) Wolff cheered for the 49ers, and Neeley (Woods) Neal performed with the Arizona Cardinals. Brian Stenklyft, Chris Uribe, Kenny Gowan and Frank Anderson went on to cheer at Fresno State. Most recently, Brittany Carino made the cheer squad as a freshman at Gonzaga University.
Weast has attended many weddings and baby showers over the years.
“Part of the enjoyment is they’ve become very successful in their careers and their families, in part from some of the things they learned in cheer, which is the teamwork, the dedication,” she said. “We’ve built some good bonds.”
Some will be on the sideline cheering Friday night when Oakmont plays Clayton Valley of Concord in its homecoming game.
“She’s just an inspiration. She knows everyone so well, and she makes a point to be a part of your life,” Oakmont junior cheerleader Kristi Kraft said. “She helps me get through and learn more.”
What: A fundraiser to benefit Oakmont Cheer & Stunt and Disabled Sports USA Far West.
When: Saturday. The Viking Dash for kids 7 and under begins at 8 a.m. The 5K run and walk begins at 8:45.
Where: Maidu Park.
Cost: $20 for adults, $15 for students (both include a T-shirt) and $5 for kids 7 and under.
To sign up: Visit www.oakmont.cheer.com.