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Gartland returns to Slicer cheer as coach

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LPHS is fortunate to welcome a familiar face to the family, as Katy Garland will be the new Slicer cheer coach starting this 2022-2023 season.

Gartland grew up a Slicer, and her two daughters are currently students at LPHS. She is proud to be somebody that students and players can look up to.

“I think the timing was just right, and my daughters have been cheerleaders for the past couple years, and I think that this is a great way to be a good role model for a lot of the high school cheer team participants,” Gartland said.

Gartland is looking forward to making an immediate impact to the Slicer cheer team and is excited to see what this season has to hold.

“I am ecstatic. I love LaPorte Slicers, and I feel that I can add a huge positive impact to the Slicer cheer team and the fans,” Gartland said.

  Garland is looking forward to this upcoming season, but she is most looking forward to the interactions between her team and spectators.

“I’m most looking forward to teaching the cheer team how to get fans to call back to them. I want to see their faces when it finally works that the fans can do what they ask. If they say,  ‘Go, Slicers, go’ and the fans actually do it,” Gartland said.

The summer is already filling up with camps and events.

“We have a camp. We’re going to be collaborating with the New Prairie High School Cheer team for a summer camp. We’ve got a youth camp for some of the kids who are in elementary schools. The Fourth of July parade, as always, is a very fun time. And also some new cheers and sideline dances,” Gartland said.

After not cheering since her years at LPHS, Gartland is happy to be back into the swing of things being a part of something she loves.

“I cheered in high school. Not to be cheesy, but I really love the Slicers. I told Mr. Santana that I bleed orange and black. So I’m very proud of this school and all of the Slicer teams,” Gartland said.

Gartland’s focus is not just on spirit. She wants to hold her team to high academic standards.

”I’d like to put out a challenge to the other coaches because our team is going to increase the GPA; and they’re going to have one of the highest GPAs of all the teams. So if they want to go up against us, we’d like to match it,” Gartland said.

Not only is Gartland a wonderful LPHS member, she is also an active member in the community and the LaPorte Little Theater. 

“My mom started making costumes at the Little Theater, and the four kids in my family and our neighbors were part of the LaPorte Little Theater, and they said ‘Get those kids on stage.’ So from the age of 12, I did tech work and spotlights, and I started plays with a little boy at Little Theater, and we do four or five shows a year, and I ran the summer children’s camp for theater camp, and this summer I’m directing a musical called Matilda the musical,” Gartland said.

Not only is she a integral member of the Little Theater, but her entire family also plays a huge role in Little Theater.

“We love it. Actually, with theater, my husband started building the sets, and then now he’s scattered for more interested in the tech side of things at the theater. So that pulls him down to the theater when we’re all doing a show,” Gartland said.

Outside of cheer and Little Theater Gartland, has a 9-5 job.

“I’m a cardiac nurse at Fransican Health. I went to Valparaiso for nursing school, and I went to IU for my masters in Public Health,” Gartland said.

Gartland keeps herself busy from work, to cheer, and everything in between.

“I love paper crafting, decorating things, helping with non profit events, and working a lot with the LaPorte County Symphony Orchestra,” Gartland said.

Gartland also enjoys crafting in her spare time. During lock-down, it brought her to start her own small business.

“That’s my Katy’s Crafts and Gifts. I started making wood signs and different things with my dad, and it gave us something to do during the pandemic. We have a pretty booming business with the Sunflower Fest, and that co-op shop, but now we are not in the co-op shops anymore. It’s pretty much just word of mouth,” Gartland said

Gartland’s family has been right by her side to support her in everything she does.

“My husband has always been really supportive. I couldn’t do half that stuff I do unless he was there willing to help with the crazy stuff that we’ve got going on, but my daughters also have just been natural volunteers, and I think it’s because you’ll find my husband. I have always been really active with Dunebrook, and the symphony, and the theater. They don’t even realize they’re volunteering when they volunteer, but just the kids step up and help, and sometimes they have to raise their hand you know, and like what I want to say is they’re always willing to help volunteer if I do have a big project going on,” Gartland said.

Gartland is beyond proud to be a Slicer; it has taught her so much that she has taken into her life now.

”There are so many reasons. I think it’s because the Slicer being a Slicer had such an impact on how I’ve decided to be an adult, and it formed a lot of decisions I made in the future. We know the teachers who I had in high school inspired me to go to college, and I was the first college graduate out of my brothers and sisters, and I just never felt like there was a ceiling for me. I just feel like I can keep going and doing based on the foundations that I had here at LaPorte High School specifically,” Gartland said.

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