In an emotion-charged effort focused on the cheerleading, music and friends she loved, Kaylie Juga was remembered and memorialized on the field of Bradford Stadium Friday night.
It was an applause-filled scene that came on the heels of an emotionally charged week.
Bradford High School cheerleaders used their halftime program to pay tribute to Juga, who died in May after being shot in her own home.
For the cheerleaders, it was a bittersweet opportunity to pay tribute to a classmate and fellow member of the squad.
The halftime performance included a number of specially choreographed selections specifically tailored to Juga and her memory.
Several cheerleaders began the routine by placing flowers and other imagery out on the field, arranging flowers around a pair of Juga’s cheerleading shoes.
Special music designed to portray Juga’s jubilant spirit, while underscoring the heartache of loss, was featured. It included the country song “Beautiful Crazy,” by Luke Combs, and “Truth Hurts” by rapper Lizzo.
A long time in the making
For the Bradford cheerleaders, the memorial show was a long time in the making.
“This plan has been going on for so long,” said Jenna Tranberg, a friend of Juga’s who was among the ardent supporters who brought the show to fruition.
The 15-year-old girl’s former boyfriend Martice Fuller, who had been quarterback of the Bradford team, is charged with first-degree homicide for her death.
Fuller is alleged to have walked in to Juga’s home on the afternoon of May 9, shooting her in her bedroom, then shooting her mother Stephanie Juga when she tried to intervene. Stephanie Juga survived. Fuller, 16, is being held in Kenosha County Jail on $1 million bond..
Kenosha Unified School District initially told cheerleaders they would not be allowed to hold the memorial, then reversed that decision after a public outcry.
Mary Jones, who attended the game with family, said she was pleased the halftime show went on.
“It was really moving,” Jones said at the conclusion of the performance. “I’m glad (the cheerleaders) got to do it.”
Commemorated in other ways
Juga’s memory was commemorated in other ways before and during the game as well.
At the beginning of the game, the announcer called for a moment of silence in Juga’s honor.
Shortly before kickoff, scores of motorcycles, some with passengers holding up signs in Juga’s honor, also were spotted along Washington Road.
A number of attendees also held up signs at the game to commemorate her memory.
Juga’s immediate family was not in attendance at Friday’s game. But, at the family’s request, members of the Armed Forces were on hand for a tribute that included escorting the cheerleaders out onto the field.
Supporters, including the cheerleaders, also wore blue shirts, reading “Team Kaylie.” Stephanie Juga created the shirts.