Top of the Pyramid – In More Ways Than One

Catherine Roach

School:  Lexington Christian Academy
Grade: 12th
Sport: Cheerleading
Academics: Catherine scored 35 on her ACT and is a National Honor Society member.
Parents: Maria & John

When the Lexington Christian Academy cheerleaders hoist Catherine Roach – at 5-foot-2 the flyer of the group – to the top of the pyramid during routines, the image is symbolic of Catherine’s academic standing.

When it comes to the classroom, this cheerleader deserves the crowd’s ovations.

Consider her resume: 35 on the ACT, National Honor Society member, seven AP classes, 5s on two AP tests so far, a Governor’s Scholar, school awards in history, algebra, accounting, French, and the Dartmouth Book Award for scholarship, citizenship and leadership.

And in her entire career at LCA – all A’s, all the time.

Her short list of college choices includes Princeton, Vanderbilt, Centre, Virginia and Washington and Lee.

“She is that rare combination of a hard worker who is very driven in the classroom and is also very smart,” said her father John, a local attorney and former state Supreme Court Justice.

Catherine is a voracious reader, a trait she inherited from her parents – both John and his wife Maria belong to their own book clubs.

Along with her school and recreational reading, Catherine will also rip through the books her mom’s club is reading.

Recently, she read “the Help,” “Sarah’s Key” and “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.”

For her AP literature class, she is reading Charles Dickens’ “Tale of Two Cities” and for pleasure she just finished Truman Capote’s classic, “In Cold Blood.”

Her favorite genre is historical fiction, particularly European monarchs. She rattles off the names of kings and queens like a UK fan lists basketball players. It’s unlikely any teenager in Central Kentucky knows more about the subject than Catherine.

And she is a girl of low culture as well as high. She loves football and basketball – her favorite teams are UK hoops and Texas A&M football. (It’s a long story.)

And her special TV shows include “Gossip Girl,” “Vampire Diaries” and “One Tree Hill.”

OK, but she’s a cheerleader. Are they athletes?

Don’t even go there.

“We train and condition just like other sports,” Catherine said matter-of-factly, without a trace of defensiveness.

And she has the injuries to show for it – a banged-up knee and torn ligament in her ankle.

So the next time you see a petite cheerleader at the top of the pyramid, think toughness and intelligence.

The cheers “Down the field, down the field, Score,” and “We want a touchdown, six points,” may not be Dickens, but it’s fun.

And sometimes you can miss a true scholar behind the cheers.