Here we go Southie! Here we go!
Photography by Jennifer Bodnar
Colleen Moran is adorable. Her energy is infectious. In the first two minutes of meeting her, she wins you over. It's no surprise she is a cheerleader. Although her days of toe touches and stunts are officially over, she teaches what she knows to South Boston teenage girls. As one of the coaches of the Pop Warner Squad A Cheerleaders, she is about to embark on a trip of a lifetime - a chance at the National Championships - a first for Colleen and South Boston. Colleen embraces the challenge.
Colleen began cheering when she was seven years old. She learned the basics of cheer and built upon them. Cheering for the Boston Latin Wolfpack and for the Northeast All Stars, she mastered her skills and learned the importance of discipline, dedication and teamwork. Lessons she now applies to her role as coach. "An important part of most sports is teamwork. This is especially true for cheerleading. Every single person on our team has their own specific role and each role is equally important."
Coaching Pop Warner for the last six years has also taught her a few things. "I've learned that it's more important to be a role model than anything else. I hope that the skills, cheers, and routines that I teach are not as valuable as the advice I give them on other matters of life." Although a coach is one of the most challenging roles in her life, Colleen believes it is important one. "I coach twelve very different and very opinionated teenage Southie girls. Needless to say this can be challenging at times, but I love every minute of it. I believe it is important for them to be involved (at this age especially) because not only is it a fun and productive activity that keeps them out of trouble, it's also a great source of exercise and discipline. Also, for a generation like theirs, so consumed with technology and being indoors, cheerleading gets them to put their phones and computers away, go outside, and just enjoy being kids for a couple of hours."
The scoop on Colleen:
Siblings: Shannon (teacher), Sean (longshoreman), and Kevin (longshoreman)
Parents:Gail (longshorewoman) and Franny Moran (longshoreman) Are there enough longshoremen in my family?
Schools: St. Brigid School, Boston Latin School, then graduated with a Management Degree concentrated in Marketing with a minor in Psychology from UMass Boston
Day job: I work for a media agency called PGR Media located in the Fort Point Channel area of South Boston. We work alongside some of the biggest names in fashion to plan and execute their advertising campaigns. My job is a lot of fun and I am blessed to have a career where I actually look forward to going to work every day.
What do you love about living in South Boston: You mean besides the parking? I would have to say that I love never being bored. On any day of the week, at any given time, I can shop and eat on Broadway, walk the beaches and Castle Island, or go for a drink at the dozens of new bars or old bars (depending on my mood). Everything is also within walking distance here which is really the best part. Us original South Boston people who have lived here our entire lives, have always known that South Boston is a great place to be and to live. It's satisfying to see that others are just finally starting to realize that now.
Favorite spot in Southie: The Cranberry Cafe on East Broadway. Since one of my best friend's mom owns it, our group of friends has always treated it as sort of our "Central Perk" (from Friends). At any time, at least one of the girls will be sitting at the back table grabbing a coffee and something to eat or just hanging out. It's like our second home.
Favorite restaurant in Southie: Mirisolas, no question. The food is always so fresh and delicious and the usual suspects at the top table will always be there to keep you company so you never have to eat alone.
On December 5th, Colleen and her team, The South Boston “Fighting Irish” Cheerleaders Squad A, will be representing the neighborhood at the Pop Warner National Cheer and Dance Championships in Orlando, FL. The girls need to raise $25,000 to cover the costs to take them there. As always, the community of South Boston has stepped up to the plate. "It's been so amazing. We have been flooded with calls, emails, and even stopped on the street by people eager to help in any way they can. The amount of support we have received is a true testament to what the neighborhood of South Boston is and always has been all about. I am proud to be from here and to be a part of such a supportive community."
The team is a talented one. Their skills and ability will be put to the test as they go up against the best teams in the country. Colleen Moran is a valuable part of that team. Her enthusiasm and love of the sport is contagious and it shows on the faces of the A Squad. Along with her fellow coaches, Colleen's dedication and commitment to the girls of South Boston is iron clad. She is a role model and someone young women can look up to and say "I want to be like her". Colleen embodies it all; beauty and intelligence; a winning personality; a promising career and a love for a community that she gives back to year after year.
The girls of Pop Warner Fighting Irish are excited about their trip and are hopeful to bring home a national title to Southie. It's goes the same for Colleen, "I am beyond proud of the girls. I have spent years volunteering my time to this program and I never expected nor did I ever want anything in return. This trip and this opportunity has made it all worth it for me. I am so happy to be a part of this." Go get 'em Southie!
The South Boston “Fighting Irish” Cheerleaders Squad A: Breena Baird, Kaitleigh Courtier, Vitianna D'amico, Aislinn Donovan, Emma Regan, Katie McCarthy, Mackenzy Jakaus, Lily Joyce, Niamh Kerr, Abbey Kozlowski, Kassandra Santiago, Elizabeth Watts.
Coaches: Kaitlyn Irving, Lindsay Shaughnessy, Marissa Walsh and the director is Kelli Connolly-O'Brien
If you would like to donate to the Pop Warner Fighting Irish Cheerleader, you can send donations to: South Boston Pop Warner, PO Box 51134, Boston, MA 02205