Back to School with the Stars


Three cheers for the CW’s Hellcats, with Aly Michalka as Marti, Robbie Jones as Lewis and Ashley Tisdale as Savannah.

What would a school be without cheerleaders? Well, on the new CW series Hellcats you’ll never find out because the show is about the fascinating world of collegiate cheerleading.

The exciting drama features a lot of dance action and follows the members of the Hellcats cheer squad. The focus is on two very different girls, Marti played by Aly Michalka, and Savannah played by Ashley Tisdale. They literally flip over becoming part of the highly competitive cheerleading team.

Michalka, currently seen in the movie Easy A, and Tisdale, who is best known for the High School Musical movies, said cheerleading is a great sport and can make the high school and college experience very rewarding.

Michalka said she has really felt a thrill doing her role.

“You actually feel the rush that these girls feel after a competition,” she said. “It’s funny, after we filmed a big cheer number, at the end of it Ashley and I were so pumped with an adrenaline rush because we nailed the routine.”

Tisdale added that the camaraderie between cheerleaders can create friends for life.

Back-to-school advice

The stars from the Fox musical series Glee play students at the fictional McKinley High School who find camaraderie with their fellow glee club members. They had some helpful advice about making the high school experience more enjoyable.

“Joining clubs is a good idea, because you’re around kids with shared interests and you have something to talk about. It’s better than being part of a clique, which can stifle your individuality,” said Lea Michele, who plays the Glee Club’s gleeky queen bee.

Mark Salling, who plays the tough-guy jock Puck, said high school sports are good for guys who want to be part of a team. But he admits to being more of a rebel when he was growing up.

“Being a musician I think helps you make friends easier,” Salling said. “You can always talk about the music and the songs you’re writing.”

Matthew Morrison, who plays the dedicated teacher who inspires his group of misfit students, sheepishly admitted he never was an outsider when he was growing up.

“I was president of my class and prom king,” he said. “I had no problem fitting in because I went to a performing arts high school.”

Another great kid I talked to recently was Lucas Cruikshank, who stars in the title role of Fred: The Movie, which just premiered on Nickelodeon.

The fast-talking, hyperactive teen admitted he’s a lot like the crazy Fred Figglehorn Internet character he plays. A self-made YouTube sensation, Cruikshank said being a celebrity recognized by millions of kids hasn’t changed his life.

“I still go to regular high school and I fit right in,” he said. “School always comes first for me. I focus on my school work, and when I’m done I do the videos and other stuff.”

Cruikshank’s YouTube videos have received upwards of 500 millions of views.

Jennette McCurdy, of iCarly fame, costars in Fred: The Movie, and talked to me about juggling her school work and her acting and singing career.

“It’s not difficult if you’re organized,” McCurdy, the wise 18 year old, said. “You’ve got to have a plan and a schedule, but also be flexible because things don’t always go as planned.

McCurdy is not only pretty and talented but also very philanthropic. She is an ambassador for the Starlight Children’s Foundation and is active with other worthwhile causes. She encourages youngsters to take time out and volunteer to help a charity or community organization.

“It’s awesome to get involved and meet new friends who are making a difference,” she said.

That’s great advice for students everywhere.

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