Time to get out the shakers
By BY LYDIA GRIMES Feature Reporter
With the Miller-Neal game coming up this week, it's only appropriate that there are ex-cheerleaders being profiled in this edition of the paper.
Gwynne Green Shell was a cheerleader for W.S. Neal all the way through school. She started cheering for the Pee-Wee teams when she was nine-years-old and continued through her high school years. She even cheered for a year and a half with LBW Junior College in Andalusia.
Cheering for W.S. Neal holds a special place in her heart and she laughingly remembers some of the things that happened during the days preceding the Miller-Neal game every year.
That is only one of the tricks that has been pulled over the years. Anyone who has been in either Brewton or East Brewton for a while can remember any number of incidents that occurred during the week preceding the game.
Gwynne happened to be the focus of one egging attack.
Gwynne grew up in the Damascus area and her mother was a physical education teacher at Neal for 30 years. After her graduation from Neal, she attended LBW Junior College in Andalusia and then transferred to Troy University, receiving a degree in elementary education. She returned to East Brewton and taught the first grade at Neal Elementary School for 15 years. While she was teaching she attended college and obtained her masters degree in counseling.
She became counselor at Pollard McCall Junior High School and alternated with Huxford for the next three years and then spent three more years at McCall alone. After that she got a chance to return to Neal High School to become the guidance counselor.
Shell has been married to Joey Shell since she graduated from Troy and they have three children. Hilary is a senior at W.S. Neal and is following in her mother's footsteps. She, too, is a cheerleader. William is in the seventh grade and is involved in sports while Dalton is still in kindergarten. Her husband, Joey, is the East Brewton Fire Chief and has his own lawn care business. They attend Ridge Road Baptist Church where they are active in the activities of the church. Gwynne says she is an avid deer hunter and spends a lot of time with her kids.
Becky Blackburn was a cheerleader for T.R. Miller during the late 60s and in 1970, when she graduated. She was there when Miller won the state championship in 1969.
Becky was born in Quantico, Va. while her dad was stationed there in the U.S. Marines. He was a native of Brewton and they returned to Brewton when she was five years old. She entered Brewton Elementary School and finished T. R. Miller High School in 1970. She was a cheerleader in Junior High and again when she was a junior and senior in high school.
She attended Jefferson Davis Junior College and worked at Judy Bond after graduation. She married her high school sweetheart, Robert Blackburn, in 1973, and the couple moved to Auburn so that he could go to college. She took a job at a textile plant in Opelika where the movie "Norma Rae" was filmed the year after she left.
The couple moved back to Brewton and she worked until their son, Adam, was born in 1981. She stayed home with him for two years before going back to work.
She went to work at Escambia Insurance in 1990 and has been there ever since.
She comes with a long line of T. R. Miller connections. Her dad, her brother and her son who played football with the school. She remembers those days with great fondness.