Three Cheers for Lakeside's Cheerleading Captain

GraceAnne Fortner

Bringing home the awards!

Bringing home the awards!

Name: GraceAnne Fortner
How long have you lived in the neighborhood? I have lived in this area my whole life. I love it here.
Who is in your family? My mom, Virginia Fortner. My dad, Randy Fortner. Brother, Adam Meek.
What school do you attend? I attend Lakeside High School.

What are your plans after high school? 
My plans after high school are to go to college and study occupational therapy and possibly child psychology. I would also like to study abroad and participate in the Disney college program one summer.

What sports and extracurricular activities do you participate in? 
I am a Lakeside High School Cheerleader and the 2022-2023 Captain. I am also a member of Leadership Hot Springs, Educators Rising, the Lakeside Ambassador Program, and Junior Representatives of Lakeside.

How did you get started with your sport/activity? 
I started in cheer at 4 years old. I was in gymnastics classes, but I never paid attention to what was going on in my class when the cheer teams practiced. I knew that I wanted to be like them, and one day I asked my mom to help me be like them. I joined my first team that year as an All-Star Cheerleader and my love for the sport has continued to grow ever since.

What do you enjoy about your sport/activity? 
I love making people smile. The skills I have learned over the years make people so excited, and it makes me happy to be able to entertain them. I also love the feeling of performing for a crowd. There is no better feeling than hitting the mat and knowing I gave it my all. The Lakeside Varsity cheer team and Coach Morton are unlike any other. The talent and determination I get to be around every day is so inspiring! I also enjoy cheering on the other Lakeside sports teams. It is a lot of fun to get to cheer for my classmates and friends.

Tell us something you achieved or some highlights of your experience so far in your sport/activity?
I have been a Lakeside High School cheerleader since ninth grade. I have had so many fun times and great memories with my teammates and coach. My biggest achievement with the team has been winning State as a tenth-grader. It was one of the best days of my life. I had always looked up to and admired both the Lakeside Cheerleaders and their Coach, Judy Morton. To be able to carry on “the winning legacy” that the program has was something I had been working towards my whole life. We won the program’s 20th state title in 2020.

Is there something that makes you unique in this activity (a specific strength or quality you bring)? 
I would say that I have the ability to lift others up. I try to be a very encouraging and positive teammate and I think it sets me apart. I love to see others excel, so when I can I try and become someone that can be their personal “cheerleader” and help them grow.

How do you keep a balance between sports, school, and other activities in your life? 
I lead a very busy life, but with the help of my mom and her calendar, my schedule stays packed – but not overwhelming. I also try to find time in between my activities, sports, and school life to relax and hang out with friends and family, as well as travel.

Name someone you admire. What makes them special and how have they motivated you?
I admire many people. Especially the women in my life and my family members. My mom and grandmas are so amazing! They all inspire me to be a strong and independent woman. I admire each of them for their own independence and strength. I admire my dad’s hard work and determination. He inspires me to work for what I want. My brother inspires me because of his kindness. He reminds me that it is important to consider everyone and that I don’t have to be so serious all the time. One of my most admired teachers is Linda McInvale. She always showed me that hard work was important but so is your character. I also admire my coach, Judy Morton, because she is unbelievably driven and talented. She does so much for Lakeside through the cheer program and her teaching. She has everything she needs in life, yet she still wants to do everything in her power to help others reach their goals.