We’re excited to introduce you to one of our NWF Community Members and Sr. HR Generalist at NewWave Tech, Melanie Duncan! We sat down with Melanie and we’re excited to share her story with you below.

NWF: Hi Melanie! Thanks for having some time to sit down with us today. Can you start by sharing with us a little bit about yourself?Cheerleading Pic1

Melanie: Hello! My name is Melanie Duncan and I am a Sr. HR Generalist at NewWave Tech. Outside of my work at NewWave, I spend most of my free time as an All-Star Cheerleading Coach.  I’ve been coaching for over 13 years now and I am truly passionate about our sport and the athletes that I train.  After coaching and doing choreography at multiple schools, rec programs, and cheer gyms, one of my amazing friends and I, created Maryland Diamond Elite, a local All-Star Cheerleading program.

NWF: Wow, that’s great! Can you tell us more about the cheerleading program?

Melanie: Our mission is to offer a competitive program which also provides a home for some our low-income and special needs athletes (now referred to as CheerAbilities) that otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to participate.  Our practices run for 11 months out of the year, and our sole purpose is to compete.  We are quite different than sideline cheerleaders you see at high school football games.  We don’t cheer for a particular team; we are the sport.

It requires hard work, strengthening and conditioning, countless hours of practice, endless sacrifices, and hundreds of repetitions.  During my tenure I am extremely proud to say we have won many competitions, National titles, trophies, banners, jackets, and rings.  But most important to me are all the relationships that I have built with my athletes.

NWF: What’s your favorite part about being a coach?

Melanie: My favorite part about being a coach are the moments that can never be caught on camera.  I have coached most of my athletes for years and have watched them grow from children to young adults ready to take on the world. We have been by each other’s side through the good times and the bad, through all the wins and all of the losses.  We have survived injuries, illnesses, fill ins, and heartbreaking losses.  We have prayed together, cried together, and laughed together until it hurts.

NWF: Wow, Melanie! It sounds like coaching is your true passion. Thank you for teaching us more about it today! Are there any lessons you’ve learned you can share with us?

Melanie: As a coach, I hope that I have taught my athletes so much more than cheer.  My goal has always been to teach them strength, perseverance, teamwork, accountability, and most importantly to believe in themselves, even when every ounce of them wanted to quit.  I hope that I am a friend when being a coach isn’t enough and I hope that they will always know that I am someone they can count on when times get rough. This is what coaching is all about to me.

NWF: Thank you so much for sharing your coaching experience with us, Melanie! It’s been great chatting with you and we’re so glad to have you as a part of our NWF community. Thank you for all you do!

Interested in sharing your story with us? We’d love to connect! Visit our volunteer page or email us at info@newwave-foundation.org and a team member will be in touch!