For the first time in General Douglas MacArthur High School’s history, the varsity cheerleading squad was crowned Nassau County champions in 2019. The remarkable accomplishment for the Generals meant they had a chance to compete in the national title.
Led by senior Alyssa Amatulli, MacArthur accomplished the unthinkable. And a chunk of the credit, according to head coach Jacqueline Day, goes to Amatulli.
“Alyssa is one of the hardest working athletes we’ve had,” Day said. “Over the past four years on varsity, her dedication to this team and determination to succeed never goes unnoticed. Alyssa is a true ‘coachable’ athlete, always learning and pushing herself to improve her stunting and tumbling skills.”
When Amatulli heard what her longtime coach said about her, tears of joy immediately ensued. She still can’t believe that the Generals took home a county championship. More importantly, it’s led to personal success that she never dreamed of.
“I feel humbled because I started out with the team as a freshman,” Amatulli said, taking a pause. “Now, I’m a senior and people look up to me. I went to open practices for next season and the coach was saying the seniors are such great leaders and she wants them to continue being good role models.
“That I was once them and now became a captain in my senior year, had all these accomplishments, that’s what my dream was. I wanted to be on a team that was doing amazing things.”
Now, Amatulli is heading to Hofstra University, where she’ll study early childhood and elementary education. But before she leaves MacArthur, she received a special gift.
Amatulli was awarded the Section VIII Academic Scholarship, a $1,000 gift to a Nassau County cheerleader who demonstrates academic success, combined with a knack for cheerleading.
“I’m really excited because, for the longest time, it’s been my dream to be on the Hofstra cheerleading team,” she said.
The MacArthur student already tried out for the Hofstra Pride cheerleading team. She just found out she made the cut. Now, the fun will truly begin. Before she goes, though, saying goodbye to her beloved teammates will be quite difficult.
“We’ve become a family because in our huddle, right before we compete, we say, ‘Family on five,’” Amatulli said. “We spend so much time together, so we become like a family and spend more time with each other than our real family. We learned to really care for each other.”