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Tier One Scholars showcase their pride through spirit organizations

By Allison Monroe
November 4, 2013

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Cougar Spirit

As Homecoming transcends upon the University of Houston, Tier One Scholar Cara Riffe looks into the stands and a sea of cheering students clad in Cougar red gives her an overwhelming sense of exhilaration. Riffe is one of many Tier One Scholars who shows her Cougar Pride through extracurricular activities and proves that being a Scholar doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.

Cara Riffe

“I am a rookie member of the UH Cougar Dolls Dance Team. We perform at all home football games and men's and women's home basketball games. We also make appearances at many campus and community events such as pep rallies and charity walks. Our goal is to entertain, energize, and inspire fans of the University of Houston,” says Riffe.

Tier One Scholars are making their mark on the University of Houston inside and outside of the classroom. Involvement in spirit clubs on campus brings with it an invaluable sense of pride not only for the university, but the city of Houston.

“I’m a member of Bleacher Creatures! I’ve missed very few games in my college career and I always make sure to be in Cougar Spirit when I go! I often times paint up my face, wear spirited jewelry, or even spray paint my hair,” senior Katie Teeters explains.

Katie Teeters

Bleacher Creatures is the official spirit group of The Honors College. The organization was created to give honor students a chance to unwind from the daily grind and show their Cougar pride at sporting events. This energetic group of students can be found cheering at every home football game, often with bodies painted in red and white with their Cougar pride on display.

Academics may be a top priority for Tier One Scholars, but being active in spirit organizations plays an equally important role in their college experience. Often, it is outside the classroom where the most memorable moments and lasting friendships are made.

“I remember making signs for ESPN College GameDay while at an all-night Ambassador retreat. There were probably twenty of us sitting around with paint, glitter, and glue making these signs, so that a bunch of us could go get in line at 2:00 a.m. It was awesome!” Teeters recalls.

Lasting friendships are especially evident within the close-knit community that is the Spirit of Houston Marching Band. Over 350 Cougar proud students take to the field to entertain fans at every home football game and select away games throughout the football season.

“For me, being a member of the Spirit of Houston is the difference between watching the tradition and being part of the tradition of the University of Houston,” says freshman Lucy Byers.  “The Spirit of Houston is a system of support, energy, and tradition and a positive representation of the past and present of our university.”


As a Tier One Scholar, being involved in spirit organizations aids in the development of skills that are essential for success like leadership, management, and team work.  Taking on these roles also gives students a sense of belonging in a university of over 40,000 students. Furthermore, showcasing Cougar pride through spirit groups provides a healthy balance between academic and social life for scholars.

“My advice to scholars not yet involved in campus activities is to put yourself out there, even if it means stepping outside of your comfort zone! There is always room to grow as a person, and you can have fun along the way,” Riffe adds.

uh - band

Tier One Scholars Showing Their Cougar Spirit in the 2013-2014 Season:

Spirit of Houston Marching Band
Lucille Byers, Clarinet
Travis Coe, Trombone
Caitlin Champiny, Clarinet
Michelle Girardot, Trumpet
Tim Hanley, Clarinet
Zachary Luftop, Drumline
Juan Eduardo Medina, Alto Saxophone
Blaine Rogers, Trumpet

Cougar Dolls
Cara Riffe 

Bleacher Creatures
Umair Akbar
Katie Teeters