Johnson & Johnson

Sisters Crystal and Heidi Johnson share their ideas on education and extracurriculars


Karla Romero, Reporter

Carrying two backpacks and three textbooks, she greets everyone as she walks in the gym. Her younger sister gets ready to cheer for the girl’s basketball team in a few minutes. As she waits to cheer for the boy’s team later that night, she does her homework for the next day while watching her sister on the sidelines and the team on the court.

Although they have both been cheering since middle school, senior Crystal and sophomore Heidi Johnson remain ranked in the top five students of each of their classes, going against the typical stereotype that cheerleaders are dumb.

“I don’t think [cheer has] affected [my grades] in any way, but if it [did], it’d be in a bad way,” Crystal said. “It takes up time, but I don’t think it’s had much of an effect.”

The two sisters agree that being part of any sport or extracurricular activity should have no impact on a student’s grades. They believe motivation to do well in school and in other activities should be personal, and a student can fit these things into their schedule if they really want to.

“I think anybody can fit as many activities in as they want, as long as they make time for things they need,” Crystal said. “Like on Homecoming week, it’s always really stressful for cheer, but I still find time throughout my day at random times. Like during class, if I finish an assignment, I’ll do homework if I know ahead of time that I won’t have time that night. I’ll just find a way.”

After being on more than one team, both girls say that the cheerleader stereotype does not typically hold.

“That [stereotype is] the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” Heidi said. “It’s just something on TV. All the cheerleaders I’ve ever known are really smart. It has nothing to do with cheerleading, it’s always the person.”

According to the girls, individual motivation is important in achieving success. They said they will not push their children to be as studious and hard-working as they have been.

“I won’t push them. I’ll always encourage them, but I won’t push them. My parents would always push my brothers, and they didn’t perform academically as well as [Crystal and me],” Heidi said.

Their personal motivation is to be successful in life. Although their ideas of success are different, they agree happiness plays a major part in the process of achieving it.

“I like feeling accomplished, and it’s something to be proud of, whenever you do good,” Crystal said. “I think being successful is just being happy. It doesn’t matter how much money you make, but being broke could make you sad. Part of being happy is being stable, but you don’t have to have a Lamborghini or a mansion to be successful.”

Part of the cheerleader stereotype is they have too much confidence in themselves and their skills. For Crystal, getting good grades is part of what gives her that confidence.

“So many teenage girls are self-deprecating, and they don’t like who they are. It’s important to like who you are; I guess being good at school helps me in that,” Crystal said.

Though they have been cheering for so long, the girls admit they do not plan to join a collegiate team, because they don’t believe they are good enough.

“Honestly I think [cheer is] just a high school thing,” Heidi said. “If I got better at it I would like to [continue in college]. I’m always looking to improve, but if I tried out and didn’t make it in college, it’s not gonna kill my dreams.”

The sisters say they are best friends, but they also admit to having fights every now and then over who cleans the room, especially since Crystal spends her weekends working at Southern Journeys of Texas as a lead generator.

“She’s always been my role model, ‘cause she tries in both [cheer and school], so I’m like ‘I have to be just as good as her’ so it’s more like a competition,” Heidi said. “She probably doesn’t think it’s a competition, [but] I think it’s a competition. And we fight over who cleans the room, it’s always me because, I need the room clean when I do my homework and she’s never there to help.”

Although they have rigorous courses and mutual after-school activities, both girls manage to find the time for their church.

“I don’t always get to make it [to youth group] but we try to go as much as possible,” Crystal said. “We go to church in the mornings too; I wake up at 4:30, do yoga in the shower, and then go to church from 6 to 6:50. Then we come to school. [On] Sunday, church is three hours [long].”

Though she is salutatorian, Crystal believes that, of the two of them, Heidi tries much harder in school. However, but they said each one tries to help and motivate the other when needed, whether it be in school or in their sport.

“If Heidi needs help in any class, I help her. And in cheer whenever one of us doesn’t get something, we’ll help each other,” Crystal said. “Also, she yells at me a lot whenever I don’t do my homework, because I get lazy often. I’m a senior now, and I get lazier a lot easier. I still pay attention in class; it’s just once I get out of class, [it is hard to find] the willpower to do the work. She stays up and does her homework often, so every once in a while I’ll stay up and do my homework too, instead of fitting it in throughout the day.”

Cheerleading takes up their B4 period and does not offer any GPA points, but the girls continue to take up the sport and sacrifice those points.

“You need a stress reliever in your life; cheer is my stress reliever,” Crystal said. “Not just my stress reliever, but also, I like to do something athletic, and cheer keeps me active and fit. I think it helps my health; I just think it’s beneficial.”
Graduation is approaching, and Crystal has her plan. Her dream is to attend Yale in the fall, though she said she will most likely end up at Brigham Young University.

“I plan to go to college and study chemical engineering,” Crystal said. “I want to become a collegiate researcher.”
The girls both admit that cheer is a lot of fun, but Crystal said that if she had dropped the sport, she would probably be valedictorian. Currently she is salutatorian, and Eyad Alrabbat is ranked number one in the senior class. However, her confidence does not waver.

“I thought about that, if I would be able to take one more AP class or if I was able to take Stats, it’d be so much easier to beat Eyad,” Crystal said. “I will beat Eyad. I will be valedictorian.”