SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Spotswood High School senior Alexa Hologounis has had a lot to cheer about during her time as a Charger. The Helmetta native made the varsity cheerleading squad as a freshman and served as captain for her final season. In addition to cheerleading, Hologounis was a member of the winter and spring track teams as well as a part of the Community Service Club, the Math League and Girls Learn International. The National Honor Society member was awarded the Leadership Award by Spotswood High School varsity cheerleading coach Colleen Meyers at the annual fall sports banquet.

Hologounis was asked to represent Spotswood High School at the annual Autoland Classic Football Game in July along with four other members of the varsity squad. The game showcases senior football players and cheerleaders from Middlesex and Union Counties. This year's much-anticipated matchup was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Unfortunately, I will not get one last chance to wear my cheer uniform and represent my school and make Ms. Meyers proud," Hologounis said. "I have been looking forward to that moment since freshman year and when I heard it was canceled I was very upset. Not being able to experience what the cheerleaders before me have is devastating."

Sign Up for Milltown/Spotswood Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

In November, along with teammate and best friend Morgan Taylor, Hologounis represented Spotswood High School at the Varsity Spectacular Parade in Orlando, Florida. The pair paraded down Main Street USA with 800 other high school cheerleaders from 42 states around the US.

Hologounis' favorite class, Criminal Justice, was a strong influence on her. It helped determine the career path she would like to follow. Hologounis plans on majoring in Criminal Justice with a concentration in forensic science at Monmouth University in West Long Branch.

"I absolutely loved everything about the class," Hologounis said. "The class piqued my interest like nothing ever has. No Matter which path my major takes me in, I hope to make a difference in the lives of many people."

It's not a coincidence that the teacher of the influential class, Matthew Merrigan, is also her favorite teacher.

"When I took his class junior year I learned so much and after taking his class my decision to major in Criminal Justice was solidified," Hologounis explained. "I would look forward to his class every day and was eager to find out what he had in store for us. He made class fun and interesting. I want to thank Mr. Merrigan so much for showing me what criminal justice is all about. Without him I would not have known that criminal justice is for me. I am so excited to see where this major takes me."

Like Merrigan, her varsity cheerleading coach, Colleen Meyers also had a big impact on Hologounis while at Spotswood High School.

"She has pushed me to be the best since my freshman year," Hologounis said of Meyers. "At times, I would doubt myself and think that I was not capable of performing a certain skill, but she knew that I was and gave me tough love. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be the strong person I am today. I am the athlete I am today because of her."

Her four Spotswood High School Spirit Weeks hold special memories for Hologounis, but her final cheer season will always occupy a treasured place in her heart.

"Although it was my last it was definitely one to remember," Hologounis said. "I was named captain and during cheer camp was given the chance to go to Disney to walk in the Varsity Spirit Spectacular Parade in Florida. At the end of my season I was awarded the leadership award and was nominated to represent Spotswood High School at the Autoland Classic. Knowing that my fellow cheerleaders chose me to represent SHS at the Autoland Classic was such an accomplishment. I made so many memories during my last season that I will never forget. It brought tears to my eyes when I had to step foot on that football field for the last time. I will truly miss my cheer sisters. I was in my element when I was cheering for my school."

Like fellow members of the Spotswood High School Class of 2020, Hologounis is saddened by the sudden turn senior year has taken because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"My advice to the incoming freshman is to not take anything for granted," Hologounis said. "These past four years have gone by in the blink of an eye. One moment you're walking down the hall for orientation and the next you're walking down the hall with your cap and gown on. I have made the best memories in high school and will cherish them forever. I have made friendships that will last me a lifetime. Make the most of your four years at Spotswood High School because you never know what is going to happen."