Erskine Academy’s Paige Reed named America’s Most Spirited Student for 2022

Paige Reed, front, surrounded by cheerleading coaches, from left to right, Tarsha Donar, Julie Wing and Amy Rau. (contributed photo)

Submitted by Amy Rau

Varsity Brands, the national driving force behind cheerleading’s transformation into the high-energy, athletic activity it is today, has named Erskine Academy senior Paige Reed America’s Most Spirited Student for 2022. The award program celebrates schools, organizations, and individuals that go above and beyond to build school pride, student engagement, and community spirit, and carries with it a $3,000 cash prize.

Reed’s classmates voted her as “most school spirited” earlier in the year, recognizing her love for Erskine Academy and its community of students, faculty, and staff.

Reed, of Vassalboro, was nominated for Varsity Brands’ award by her cheerleading coaches Amy Rau and Julie Wing, and her school advisor Shara MacDonald. The nominators penned the required 500-word essay, solicited letters of recommendation, and gathered “spirited photos” of Reed in action.

On June 1, Reed joined other finalists from across the country for a virtual awards presentation, viewed by Rau, Wing, and MacDonald, who were anxiously awaiting results. The three fought back the tears when hearing Reed named Varsity Brands’ Most Spirited Student in America, and accepting the award on her behalf, as she could not accept it while recovering from a stem cell transplant as part of her battle with a second bout of leukemia. Early in the school year and following a 12-year remission, the Reed family and Erskine community were shocked yet united by the resurgence of leukemia affecting Paige. Subsequently, Reed endured several months of chemotherapy, lumbar punctures, and stem cell transplant with cells donated by her hero brother, Seth.

Paige and her journey, entitled Paige Power, became well known by the outpouring of support and good will through fundraisers, benefits, and gatherings, particularly within the cheerleading and basketball communities, all worthy yet bittersweet. “It is a welcome change to be in the news at this time to celebrate the positive for Paige,” said cheerleading coach and nominator Rau.

Paige is currently home from Boston and recovering well. Coach Wing was able to Facetime her about the award, and with the news, she was back to her sassy, fierce teenage self. The entire EA community cannot wait until she is well enough for visitors and when she returns to her friends and teachers in her special and favorite place, Erskine Academy.

 
 

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