Tina Cocumelli Leaving Poly After 39 Years
Tina Cocumelli first graced Poly’s campus in 1981 as a Drama teacher. After four years, Tina added the Spirit Squad to her plate which consisted of both cheerleaders and songleaders. After over 20 years, Cocumelli and then Athletic Director Chuck Ellis decided to transition the Spirit Squad to the Dance Team and Mascots, moving more towards the song and dance and away from the stunt work of cheerleading.
Cocumelli transformed the program into a team that is not just about dance and rooting for other teams; she focused on developing communication skills, leadership skills, and assertiveness amongst the members. She also taught students how to balance their team lives and the school lives in a healthy way. She created a program that builds solid relationships; its members are more like family to one another. She made it her mission for the community to revere and respect the Dance Team and Mascots as much as any another sports team on campus. Although their season looks different from other teams, their hard work and commitment to the program rivals any competitive sports team on campus.
After 39 years serving Poly, Cocumelli leaves California for New York City. There she will work with Poly alumnus Hunter Arnold ’95 as a theatrical producer. Cocumelli says that she will most miss, “spending time with the individual members and them as a team. [She is] going to miss the coaches with whom [she] spent so much time. [She is] going to miss being at the games.”
The Poly community will miss her as well. We will miss her passion for her team, her passion for sports, and her support for the Athletics program. We, the Poly Athletics community, want to thank her for the artistic perspective that she brought into the Athletics department. She has created a legacy that will forever live on in our gyms and on our field.