Photo Credits: Clemrick Bryan, Nathalie Trow-McDonald, & Morgan Dixon

ST. THOMAS – As sneakers squeak on the court, buzzers sound, and coaches yell, the 2015 Paradise Jam Tournament is in full swing in the UVI St. Thomas campus’s Sports and Fitness Center as the University of the Virgin Island Men’s Basketball Team plays against the British Virgin Island’s Allstars on Saturday, November 21, 2015.

The bleachers were full of local residents who wanted a nice evening out and guests who came to show their support for the various teams that played that evening, but there was a new addition to the crowd this year.

Behind the UVI cheerleaders and dance team was a large section of blue T-shirts echoing their cheers. For the first time at a UVI basketball game, there was a student section in the bleachers.

Led by the Student Government Association, any student who attended the game wearing a blue spirit shirt or was willing to have some of the SGA members create sparkly designs on their skin with blue and yellow face paint, was able to get in for free.

This idea turned out to be a success. There was large number of students who not only attended, but also cheered, clapped, and even held up homemade banners.

“It was the most impressive example of school spirit that I have witnessed for any of our basketball games,” UVI President Dr. David Hall said in an email sent to the entire UVI community. “I want to thank the SGA and the students for demonstrating their pride for UVI in such a positive and exciting manner. I have dreamed of this during various basketball games in the past, and to see it manifest itself was very touching and inspiring.”

Not only did the student body have a great turn out, but the UVI cheerleaders and dance team both had flawless and impressive performances during halftime.

The UVI cheer team performed an elaborate routine to a remix of “Cheerleader” by OMI and “Sorry” by Justin Bieber including multiple pyramid stunts.

Following up right behind the cheerleaders, the UVI dance team performed to a remix of Rihanna’s latest hit. The ladies moved in unison with sparkly gold outfits and managed to hit every beat.

The crowd went wild at the end of the two performances and was definitely ready to see what was in store in the second half of the game.

UVI student pride did not stop there. WUVI, the student-run radio station, performed live coverage throughout the duration of the game. The crew had a table located on the sidelines of the court alongside other local and national reporters and they did not miss a beat.

The Bucs won 77-61 and there was no doubt the tremendous amount of support received from peers and the community attributed to their win.

“The paradise jam tournament afforded us UVI students the opportunity to show great UVI pride! We took full advantage of it and brought joy to many UVI associates. This wasn’t a spontaneous idea it was fully planned by all the student leaders from many of the organizations, clubs, and groups of UVI not just SGA. However, this is just a start to an amplification of school pride that we have in store for the community! We are planning for school pride presence at UVI basketball games and many more events!” Yohance Henley, President of the St. Thomas Campus Student Government Association, commented.


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