By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Republican
Payton Keithley signs a Letter of Intent to cheer at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.


Payton Keithley shared a joyous occasion with a room of friends, family, and teammates when he signed a Letter of Intent to study and cheer for Purdue University on Thursday, May 9.

Payton has been participating in sports throughout his years at Belvidere North High School. He played football during his freshman through junior years, was part of the Competitive Cheer team for three years (sophomore through senior), and was on the Sideline Cheer team as a senior. He is a NIC10 scholar-athlete, a three time State Champ, and is fifth in the world on Snow Ed (All-Star Cheer). He also made the 2019-2020 Coed Cheer Team.

Academically, Payton is an Illinois State Scholar, a member of the National Honor Society and the Tri-M Music Honor Society. This year he is the president of the Choir Advisory Board.

He volunteers weekly at church, enjoys running the sound boards for Theater, and sang to elementary schools with the Choir for Red Ribbon Week.

“It seems that this is becoming an annual event,” said Athletic Director Jody Flynn. “But when you win three State medals, it happens. I wasn’t on the Purdue trip but I guarantee they looked beyond Payton the Cheerleader and looked at Payton the Student.

“The biggest thing that stands out to me is how respectful this young man is. That’s a direct reflection of mom and dad. I commend both of you.”

Cheerleading Head Coach Lacee Sattelberg said, “We are so proud of you. Payton is truly one of the most respectful students here. He always shows up early asking, ‘Do you need something done?’ He is such a…

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