A few ladies from the Spirit 1994 Virginia State University cheerleaders, once known as Woo Woos, are riding the buzz surrounding their viral HBCU photo that landed on the popular 247 Live Culture Twitter page. As a tribute to their exceptional coach and the foundation she founded, the ladies recreated the iconic 1995 photo that drew over 2 million views on social media.

Virginia State College’s cheerleading squad, later renamed ‘University’ in 1979 adopted the name Woo Woos in 1974, according to Newswire. This team cultivated a culture of excellence under the guidance of Dr. Paulette Walker-Johnson. As a result of the coach’s influential role in shaping everything from the outfit to the game-day presence and poise of the Woo Woos, the team gained collegiate recognition for their distinctive stomp-shake style.

A former squad member, Laverne Burrus-Johnson, said her years on the team gave her memories of a lifetime. 

“Words will never express how humbling it was after all these years to wear a cheerleading uniform that symbolizes so much to so many. Thirty years ago, I was afforded an opportunity to experience a school, a cheerleading program, and a Coach that transformed my and many other lives. I am proud and honored to be part of the VSU family,” Burrus-Johnson said. 

As part of the organization’s 50th anniversary celebration, the Spirit Squad of 1994 is celebrating 30 years as members. In a tribute to their motto, “Once a Woo Woo, always a Woo Woo,” they’ve donned their uniforms once again for the photo. 

“I’m proud and honored to be a part of the Woo Woo fifty-year legacy. Recreating the photo brings back the memories of togetherness, strength and leadership shared between my fellow Woo Woo sisters,” Maketah Wyatt said.

To contribute to the current cheerleading program, the team is using this opportunity to raise funds. In addition to their university organization, the cheerleaders also host a summer cheer camp for aspiring high school students. Campers learn cheerleading skills, the importance of community service, and character while on a team. 

“As we commemorate our 30-year class journey, we aspire to raise a minimum of $30,000 in donations to assist with our beloved Virginia State University Woo Woo program—as cheerleaders do not receive scholarships for cheering like many other athletes,” a statement reads.