By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
Smiles all around for The Cheer Factory winners at The Summit National Competition.

The Cheer Factory celebrates
By Beth Volpert

There is much to celebrate at the Cheer Factory, located in Lawrenceville, GA. The business is turning 15 and their Senior Level 2, All-Star team returned from The Summit, All Levels National Invitational with a 3rd place trophy.

“Of the best of the best nationally, our team placed third,” says Debbie Heard, All-Star Coordinator. “We are so proud of their accomplishment!”

Allen Harkness and Leigh Heard at Cheer Factory on college break, Leigh's proud to have won her championship ring at Allen's Alma Mater, University of West GA.

Owner, Allen Harkness, himself an accomplished cheerleader, is every bit as proud as Debbie. These kids have put in hours of training in stunting, tumbling and so much more to be prepared to compete at this level.” Allen credits the creative elements in the pyramids for the recent wins both locally and nationally. Allen’s time as a cheerleader for the Falcons, Hawks and University of West Georgia has allowed him to see what it takes to get to those levels and offer preparation to those who train at his gym.

The training is a group effort and Coach Jerry Kammavongsa is just as dedicated as the trainees. “We like to keep it positive for them and have some fun while training very hard for competitions.” Allen Harkness agrees, “Not only do we keep it positive, but we teach them to trust themselves and know that the coaches won’t let them do anything to hurt themselves.” Students, like Debbie Heard’s daughter Leigh, who have gone on to cheer at the college level, often return on school breaks to continue training and perfecting their skills. Constantly training since she was five, enabled Leigh to land a spot on her coach’s Alma Mater team, The University of West Georgia. “We won a national competition,” says Leigh. “It takes practicing done six hours a day, seven days a week to even get to the level of a national competition.”

Cheer Factory owner, Allen Harkness and Coach Jerry Kammavongsa celebrate their cheer team.

The Cheer Factory offers training on many levels and supports several local recreation and school cheer programs. The students who are involved at Cheer Factory are very active at their schools. “They get great grades and stay out of trouble,” says Jerry. Perhaps it is because cheering is so time consuming that students don’t have time to get into any trouble, but the staff at Cheer Factory make it a point to keep up with the kids and make sure they study and manage their time well.

Debbie Heard is thrilled to talk about the recent accomplishments of the teams and anticipates more great gains and prestigious competitions to come. “We are still accepting applicants for our programs at this time,” says Debbie. “Anyone interested in talking to us about our programs should give us a call at 770-962-FLIP” or go to http://www.cheerfactorygym.com.