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Knights’ cheerleader is ‘red hot’ for faith, hard work

Death of father in 2017 brought her closer to her mother and brother

Published: May 29, 2023   
Isabella Moore
Spencer Warren, 18, (center) cheers on the Sacred Heart Knights girls basketball team Feb. 25 during the regional basketball tournament at the Nemo Vista gym in Center Ridge.

When senior Spencer Warren, 18, first started cheerleading at Sacred Heart School in Morrilton as a sophomore, she admitted she was “nervous to yell,” intimidated to shout out the cheers and give it her all. But three years later, loudly shouting call-back cheers like “Knights are what?” and the crowd shouting back, “Red hot!” is one of her favorite things. The faithful spirit, work ethic and joy she exudes daily is a testament to her Catholic education and her late father’s example.

“Just the joy of it; overall, I’m a happy person,” Warren said of why she loves cheerleading. “I had someone tell me today, ‘You are always smiling.’ Being that light in the school is my favorite part.”

The oldest of two children, Warren and her family converted to Catholicism when she was about 8 years old. She attended St. John School in Russellville before starting at Sacred Heart in fifth grade.

“I’ve always been in that small school environment. Being able to have that family atmosphere, I’ve always enjoyed that,” she said.

In addition to cheerleading, Warren, who has a 3.72 GPA, is involved in several activities including Key Club secretary, class president of Student Council the past two years, softball manager and she’s on the trap shooting team. She has been in 4H throughout her education and became a Eucharistic minister two years ago. Whether cheering or volunteering in the community, her faith is always connected.

“At the end of every ballgame, we join around in a circle and pray the Our Father. It has been one of my favorite things to do,” she said.

That foundation of faith helped her face the death of her father, Jerry Warren, March 16, 2017. He was diagnosed in early 2016 with lung cancer after struggling during a family hike on vacation in Wyoming. He was in remission by the end of the year but was diagnosed with brain and bone cancer in early 2017. Warren said it brought her family of three — mother Trish Henry and younger brother Rowdy Warren — closer because “we were all we had.” The family would pray nightly together.

“I was definitely a daddy’s girl, I’d say. Me and him would always joke about literally everything, and hearing his laugh would make me so happy,” Warren said. “I remember my dad was a worker. He was never sitting down, he was always doing something. One thing we did together was riding horses. He loved riding horses. He really taught me how to be a hard worker and just because something might be rough or not the easiest thing, hard work is an admirable thing. I always want people who describe me to think of me as a hard worker.”

Her work ethic will be helpful as she majors in pre-medicine and minors in business at the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville. Warren said she might pursue a career in dermatology.

“I always think about that saying, ‘What would Jesus do?’ So just being able to be kind to people and help people, I love that about the medical field,” she said. “Every day you get to help people.”

Warren said the most important life lesson she learned at Sacred Heart is living out her faith.

“Always keep your faith strong and bring your faith into everything you do,” she said.

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