Bellevue Christian School senior Claire Burianek has signed with Western Colorado University to join the school’s cheerleading squad this fall. Today, Burianek is thrilled with her decision, but it was a journey for her to get there.

After coming to BCS as a freshman, Burianek was most impacted by her relationships with Ms. Geeslin, Ms. Cotton and her cheer coaches, Tori Knight and Katie Koons. Burianek had done gymnastics for seven years before deciding to try cheer five years ago. She fell in love with the sport and did cheer for all four of her years at BCS. She says of her teachers and coaches:

“They all helped me to discover different parts of myself and gave me a safe environment to learn from my mistakes. My BCS coaches have shaped me in so many incredible ways, and I know I wouldn’t have made it to college cheer without them. I’m so grateful for everyone at BCS who supported me over the years.”

When researching colleges, Burianek had a number of criteria: small campus, four definite seasons, study abroad program and a good cheer team were just a few. She found some schools in central and eastern Washington that would have been a good fit, but she was also interested in studying out of state. She and her mom started researching schools in Colorado, which is how they discovered Western Colorado University.

When Burianek visited a year ago, she had a gut feeling that Western Colorado was “her school”. From the natural beauty surrounding campus, to the athletic facilities and the professors in her intended area of study, the school seemed like a perfect fit.

“I’m hoping to double major in psychology and sociology, and since I got to hear a presentation from those two professors when I visited, I know how intelligent they both are and I’m super excited to work with them.”

In the end, Burianek’s decision came down to Whitworth and Western Colorado, since they were the only two schools that had cheer tryouts before the May 1 Decision Day. After making Western’s team and before trying out for Whitworth, Burianek was offered a second athletic scholarship, on top of one she had already been offered. That offer sealed the deal and Burianek committed to Western Colorado.

After she graduates from BCS, Burianek has a vision for her next steps – in college and beyond.

“I’m hoping to use my experience of being a Christian at a public college and my career in Christian therapy to help people in their relationships with God, whether they already are believers or have never heard of God. I want to spend the rest of my life doing what I love the most- reading good books and helping people.”