KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – Dobyns-Bennett senior Leigh Wright has been dancing since she was three years-old.

“I am always so happy when I dance and it just takes my mind off of anything,” she said.

Growing up in Kingsport, it didn’t take Wright too long to begin dreaming of one day joining the Dobyns-Bennett High School Spirit Shakers.

“I was like, I want to do that,” she recalled. “Had the poster in my bedroom – like I know her name and her name.”

So, when her time came to tryout as a freshman, and she made the team, Wright was overjoyed.

“It was just the best feeling ever and I knew that I would need to keep putting in work as if I was trying out still,” she said.

Putting in that work is always easier when you’re working on something you love.

“I would say it just brings out the best of me,” Wright said of dancing. “I feel like it’s the activity that I can express myself and put myself into the most.”

One of her favorite aspects of being a Spirit Shaker is performing with her team on gamedays.

“Whether we’re on the football field or a basketball court – that energy, you can feel it in the air,” she explained.”

But, the Spirit Shakers experience is about more than performing.

“It was just about so many other things – supporting the school, being really close with your teammates and the coaches,” she said. “Just that bond we all have is pretty special.”

If Wright isn’t boosting her school’s spirit with her team, she can be found volunteering with the Kingsport Sparkle Squad – a local cheer team for those with disabilities.

“That part really resonates with me, because my sister has a mental disability,” she said. “So, I feel like I can really connect with other students and see a different perspective of why that team is so special.”

For Leigh, as a dancer, helping others – like her sister Brooke – realize their passion for cheer and dance is its own reward.

“I feel special to be able to share that with someone else, especially when not many people are given that kind of opportunity,” she said.

But, when it boils down to it, the volunteers and coaches are there for a much simpler, yet higher purpose.

“That’s really what it’s about,” Wright said. “It’s cheering – but also being their friend.”