Pine Bluff High School senior cheerleader Kalaya Evans signed her letter of intent for the Jackson State University cheer squad on Monday afternoon.
Evans is a three-year letterman of the PBHS cheer squad and was a captain during her senior year.
Djenaba Prater Swan is the cheer coach at Jackson State, and she traveled down to join Evans in her achievement.
“When she walked into our gym for tryouts, she stood out,” Swan said. “Something is very special about her, and we are excited about having her join our university and cheer team.”
Evans traveled to the Jackson State campus for a three-day tryout back in March, and with a lot of hard work and dedication, she was chosen to become a member of the squad for the following school year.
Evans’ parents, Edwin and Vivian Evans, said they are proud.
“My daughter had a plan and she wrote it down,” Evans’ mother said. “She had a purpose, and this was one of her goals, but most importantly, she prayed. She was persistent, and I thank God that she was patient. This has now opened the door for her to become a cheerleader at Jackson State.”
“I just thank God that she got what she wanted,” Evans’ father remarked about his daughter. “It’s been a long road. We started back when she was a little girl, and this is something that she has been wanting to do for a long time. Now she has accomplished it and I’m happy for her.”
Pine Bluff High School cheer coach Jada Jones-Toney was elated about Evans making the cheer squad at JSU.
“It’s always bittersweet when you reach the end of the year with the senior class preparing for the next journey of their life,” Jones-Toney said. “Kalaya has been wonderful as a leader, both on and off the field. She had aspirations of going to no other school except Jackson State. To see her work hard and have her dreams come true, it’s not just a testament to her own perseverance and willpower, but to the students that if you work hard enough, you can have it, too. She will leave a legacy here at Pine Bluff High and I wish her the best on the next chapter of her life.”
Evans said she was overwhelmed with the support over the years, which has led her to this point of her life.
“My time here at Pine Bluff High was great,” Evans said.
“The teachers were helpful and helped to deal with my schedule when it came to cheerleading. The band and excitement from the fans during football season is something I’ll miss. Seeing people smile when I cheer is definitely a motivation. Once I make it to Jackson, I plan to bring my skills, hard work and dedication to the team and hoping to improve them even more.”