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The Magazine of Lenoir-Rhyne University

The Magazine of Lenoir-Rhyne University

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Explore the rich tradition and history of Lenoir-Rhyne by browsing news, accomplishments, and athletic highlights through the years.

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Explore the rich tradition and history of Lenoir-Rhyne by browsing news, accomplishments, and athletic highlights through the years.Explore Archives
Issue 4
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Summer 2018
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Spring 2018
A Cheer Family
LR ALUMNA BUILDS LEGACY AS CHEERLEADING COACH

Angela Hope-Eskew ’99 is leading young women to success in athletics and in life through cheerleading.

With Hope-Eskew as head coach, the Bishop Ireton High School cheerleading team in Alexandria, Virginia, has been named national grand champions by the Christian Cheerleaders of America for the past three years. In 2013, Hope-Eskew received the prestigious Christian Cheerleaders of America's National Coach of the Year Award, and was inducted into the Christian Cheerleaders National Hall of Fame in 2018. Although she has never cut a girl from the squad, Hope-Eskew’s team has received a bid to compete at nationals each of the past 10 years she's served as head coach.

“I'm a mother and I just can't bring myself to cut any of the girls from the team,“ Hope-Eskew said. “We start from scratch each year with anywhere from 15 to 27 girls. You don't know who is going to have what skills and it's a fun, mixed bag. I get some girls who have never cheered before in their life.“

Guided by faith and a strong set of values, Hope- Eskew has found success by creating a culture of caring and respect among her cheerleaders, who call themselves a cheer family. “The girls lift each other up spiritually, physically, emotionally, and we take a lot of time to pray for each other,“ she said. “We call ourselves a cheer family, and we really live by that motto.”

Hope-Eskew also places a large amount of responsibility on her team. Each season, she pairs one upperclassman with a freshman in a big sister, little sister type of mentoring system. “Big sisters are in charge of keeping their little sisters up to speed,” said Yannet Ephrem, a senior member of the team. “The freshmen come in and they want to work very hard because they want to be a part of the legacy we are leaving behind.”

Ephrem is one of three senior team members with the chance of winning four consecutive national championships, one for each of the four years attending Bishop Ireton. For this reason, Ephrem says she is feeling the pressure more than ever but leans on her cheer family for guidance and encouragement. “As a senior on the team, I get some of the pressure but coach is always so encouraging and reminds us of our strengths,” Ephrem said. “It definitely helps to relieve some of the anxieties we are feeling.”

“We are all super close, and the relationships we are building with each other will last forever. Even when other girls graduate and go to college they come back and visit us during practice. It is family. It really is family.”

For Hope-Eskew, one of the most rewarding parts of her job is seeing former athletes return to Bishop Ireton. “From fall break through Christmas break, I have alumni popping into practices,” she said. “It is incredibly rewarding to see that they live for the program and miss it, and I love that they come back and see me. They know that once you are a part of the cheer family you will always be a part of the cheer family.”

Alumni aren’t the only ones who seek out Hope-Eskew. Prospective cheerleaders know they will be joining a program that is synonymous with building champions. When Hope-Eskew was hired by Bill Simmons, former Bishop Ireton athletic director, the program was organized by parents. Today, he says the program is highly sought after by girls with hopes of joining the squad. “At the time we were just looking for a coach to be with our team at games,” he said. “Angela had a bigger vision and a more strategic approach, building the team into a competition team as well. She got Bishop Ireton to the point now where girls come to the school specifically for cheerleading. She's one of the greatest hires I ever made.”

As Hope-Eskew builds her legacy at Bishop Ireton High School, she relies on her faith in God to help navigate the way. Throughout her nearly 18-year career as a cheerleading coach, she has epitomized the mission LR has for each of its graduates - to liberate mind and spirit, clarify personal faith, foster physical wholeness, build a sense of community, and promote responsible leadership for service to the world.

While the liberal arts education she received at LR helped build upon Hope-Eskew’s values, it also provided her with lifelong friends, including Amber Irvin ’98, whom she met in geology class. Since their time at LR, Irvin has stood by Hope-Eskew’s side during many of life's biggest milestones and has always supported her at cheer competitions when possible. “She's very energetic and positive with her team even in the times when they make mistakes,” Irvin said. “The number one thing I see in Angela is that she has put God first in her life and also in cheerleading, and I really think that's helped make her more successful.”


ANGELA HOPE-ESKEW

Christian Cheerleaders of America's National Coach of the Year 2013

The award is voted on by all coaches who attend the Christian Cheerleaders of America national competition and by the organization’s staff, compiled of former coaches, current college coaches, and college cheerleaders.

Bishop Ireton High-School Coach of the Year 2011 and 2017

Inducted into Christian Cheerleaders National Hall of Fame 2018

FAMILY

Hope-Eskew has a 3-year-old son named Everett who her cheerleaders consider the mascot of their team. He attends most every practice. She credits her husband, Chad, for being extremely hard working, supportive, and loving.

Hope-Eskew credits her passion for cheerleading to her mother who was a former cheerleader at Isothermal Community College in Spindale, North Carolina, and captain of her team in high school. One of her favorite childhood memories is jumping up and down with her mother in excitement after making her sixth grade cheerleading team. Hope-Eskew’s mom has been by her side during every national championship, and has always been one of her biggest supporters.

AWARDS

Bishop Ireton High School
National Grand Champions with the Christian Cheerleaders of America 2011, 2016, 2017, 2018
The award is given to the team with the highest score out of all varsity divisions.

First Place in the Large Varsity Division
2011, 2016, 2017, 2018

Spirit of Competition Award
Received eight out of the past 10 years the team has attended the national competition. The award is given to the team with the overall best attitude and is voted on by all teams in the competition.

LENOIR-RHYNE ROOTS

While attending Lenoir-Rhyne, Hope-Eskew received an opportunity to complete an honors internship program in Washington, D.C., where she worked under former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms. Eskew graduated with a degree in political science before going on to spend nine years on Capitol Hill, and more than five years working as a political appointee to the White House. She also coached during this time.

 

 

  • Alumni
A Cheer Family
LRU
LR ALUMNA BUILDS LEGACY AS CHEERLEADING COACH

Angela Hope-Eskew ’99 is leading young women to success in athletics and in life through cheerleading.

With Hope-Eskew as head coach, the Bishop Ireton High School cheerleading team in Alexandria, Virginia, has been named national grand champions by the Christian Cheerleaders of America for the past three years. In 2013, Hope-Eskew received the prestigious Christian Cheerleaders of America's National Coach of the Year Award, and was inducted into the Christian Cheerleaders National Hall of Fame in 2018. Although she has never cut a girl from the squad, Hope-Eskew’s team has received a bid to compete at nationals each of the past 10 years she's served as head coach.

“I'm a mother and I just can't bring myself to cut any of the girls from the team,“ Hope-Eskew said. “We start from scratch each year with anywhere from 15 to 27 girls. You don't know who is going to have what skills and it's a fun, mixed bag. I get some girls who have never cheered before in their life.“

Guided by faith and a strong set of values, Hope- Eskew has found success by creating a culture of caring and respect among her cheerleaders, who call themselves a cheer family. “The girls lift each other up spiritually, physically, emotionally, and we take a lot of time to pray for each other,“ she said. “We call ourselves a cheer family, and we really live by that motto.”

Hope-Eskew also places a large amount of responsibility on her team. Each season, she pairs one upperclassman with a freshman in a big sister, little sister type of mentoring system. “Big sisters are in charge of keeping their little sisters up to speed,” said Yannet Ephrem, a senior member of the team. “The freshmen come in and they want to work very hard because they want to be a part of the legacy we are leaving behind.”

Ephrem is one of three senior team members with the chance of winning four consecutive national championships, one for each of the four years attending Bishop Ireton. For this reason, Ephrem says she is feeling the pressure more than ever but leans on her cheer family for guidance and encouragement. “As a senior on the team, I get some of the pressure but coach is always so encouraging and reminds us of our strengths,” Ephrem said. “It definitely helps to relieve some of the anxieties we are feeling.”

“We are all super close, and the relationships we are building with each other will last forever. Even when other girls graduate and go to college they come back and visit us during practice. It is family. It really is family.”

For Hope-Eskew, one of the most rewarding parts of her job is seeing former athletes return to Bishop Ireton. “From fall break through Christmas break, I have alumni popping into practices,” she said. “It is incredibly rewarding to see that they live for the program and miss it, and I love that they come back and see me. They know that once you are a part of the cheer family you will always be a part of the cheer family.”

Alumni aren’t the only ones who seek out Hope-Eskew. Prospective cheerleaders know they will be joining a program that is synonymous with building champions. When Hope-Eskew was hired by Bill Simmons, former Bishop Ireton athletic director, the program was organized by parents. Today, he says the program is highly sought after by girls with hopes of joining the squad. “At the time we were just looking for a coach to be with our team at games,” he said. “Angela had a bigger vision and a more strategic approach, building the team into a competition team as well. She got Bishop Ireton to the point now where girls come to the school specifically for cheerleading. She's one of the greatest hires I ever made.”

As Hope-Eskew builds her legacy at Bishop Ireton High School, she relies on her faith in God to help navigate the way. Throughout her nearly 18-year career as a cheerleading coach, she has epitomized the mission LR has for each of its graduates - to liberate mind and spirit, clarify personal faith, foster physical wholeness, build a sense of community, and promote responsible leadership for service to the world.

While the liberal arts education she received at LR helped build upon Hope-Eskew’s values, it also provided her with lifelong friends, including Amber Irvin ’98, whom she met in geology class. Since their time at LR, Irvin has stood by Hope-Eskew’s side during many of life's biggest milestones and has always supported her at cheer competitions when possible. “She's very energetic and positive with her team even in the times when they make mistakes,” Irvin said. “The number one thing I see in Angela is that she has put God first in her life and also in cheerleading, and I really think that's helped make her more successful.”


ANGELA HOPE-ESKEW

Christian Cheerleaders of America's National Coach of the Year 2013

The award is voted on by all coaches who attend the Christian Cheerleaders of America national competition and by the organization’s staff, compiled of former coaches, current college coaches, and college cheerleaders.

Bishop Ireton High-School Coach of the Year 2011 and 2017

Inducted into Christian Cheerleaders National Hall of Fame 2018

FAMILY

Hope-Eskew has a 3-year-old son named Everett who her cheerleaders consider the mascot of their team. He attends most every practice. She credits her husband, Chad, for being extremely hard working, supportive, and loving.

Hope-Eskew credits her passion for cheerleading to her mother who was a former cheerleader at Isothermal Community College in Spindale, North Carolina, and captain of her team in high school. One of her favorite childhood memories is jumping up and down with her mother in excitement after making her sixth grade cheerleading team. Hope-Eskew’s mom has been by her side during every national championship, and has always been one of her biggest supporters.

AWARDS

Bishop Ireton High School
National Grand Champions with the Christian Cheerleaders of America 2011, 2016, 2017, 2018
The award is given to the team with the highest score out of all varsity divisions.

First Place in the Large Varsity Division
2011, 2016, 2017, 2018

Spirit of Competition Award
Received eight out of the past 10 years the team has attended the national competition. The award is given to the team with the overall best attitude and is voted on by all teams in the competition.

LENOIR-RHYNE ROOTS

While attending Lenoir-Rhyne, Hope-Eskew received an opportunity to complete an honors internship program in Washington, D.C., where she worked under former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms. Eskew graduated with a degree in political science before going on to spend nine years on Capitol Hill, and more than five years working as a political appointee to the White House. She also coached during this time.

 

 

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