Wendy Brown, a 33-year-old woman in Green Bay, Wisconsin, used her 15-year-old daughter’s ID to enroll in high school. Now why, oh why, would any adult want to go back to to high school? Because Wendy desperately wanted to be a cheerleader.
Before school started, Wendy tried out for the squad, bought her uniform (with a check that bounced, naturally), attended multiple cheerleading practices, and attended a pool party at the coach’s house. However, during the first week of school, she only went to class for a single day, leading school officials to investigate her more closely. They soon discovered that Brown’s daughter actually lived in Nevada with her grandmother, her legal guardian, and was happily attending high school there.
Brown has been charged with felony identity theft and could face up to six years in prison. Not to mention that she didn’t even get to go to Homecoming.
Now, this story brings up a few questions. First, how did no one notice that a 30-something was in their midst? “In school you see a lot of children who look older and dress older,” said the school’s spokesperson. “At what point do you say, ‘You’re lying.’”
And second, why did this woman so want to be a cheerleader that she’d break the law to do it? In her statement to the police, Brown said that she cooked up this scheme because she had, “no childhood and was trying to regain a part of her life she missed.” To me, this is a prime example of cheerleaders’ symbolic power. They are deeply entrenched in our high school mythology as the ones at the top of the social pyramid. They have those elusive qualities that seems like the key to happiness when we’re teenagers—beauty and popularity. In short, their lives seem easy, enviable, perfect.
Wendy didn’t want to be a straight-A student. She didn’t want to be class president. She wasn’t even after a diploma. She wanted to wield the pom-poms and pleated skirt.
Read much more about CHEER! here.