September 12, 2019—Shaker Heights Schools is pleased to announce that Cara Sutherland, a 2012 graduate of Shaker Heights High School, has returned to her alma mater to serve as the coach of the Raiderettes.
Ms. Sutherland, a professional dancer who has performed with professional dance teams, was a Raiderette during her time at Shaker Heights High School. While she is still active in dance as an instructor and performer, she currently works as a full-time marketing professional. Ms. Sutherland is the third Shaker Heights High School alum to join the District this year, in addition to SGORR advisor Tiara Sargeant (Class of 2014) and Jarryd Tribble (Class of 2003).
“Coming back to Shaker feels very familiar, but there are a lot of great things happening today that are different,” she says. “The Raiderettes are a much more diverse group than we’ve been in the past, which is exciting. Also, the Raiderettes and cheerleaders used to feel very separate—now that we have some cheerleaders on the Raiderette squad, it feels like both activities are more integrated. This is a very dedicated group of students.”
Ms. Sutherland, who earned her bachelor’s degree in exercise science from John Carroll University, says she hopes to bring younger and fresher choreography to the team, incorporating ideas she’s gleaned from professional dancing contacts who also work with NFL and NBA dance teams.
“Raiderettes was something that helped me feel connected to school, to other students and to the community. Plus there were wonderful leadership opportunities for me in the group,” Ms. Sutherland says. “I’m so glad to be able to give back to something that was so fun and important to me during High School. I want to make it the same experience for other students.”
Ms. Sutherland is a second-generation Shaker Heights High School graduate. Her mother, Annette Tucker Sutherland is a member of the Class of 1977 and a former member of the Board of Education. Ms. Sutherland also has two sisters who graduated from Shaker Heights High School: her younger sister, Bonnie, is a member of the Class of 2015; and her older sister, Harper is a member of the Class of 2010.