Staff profile: Margaret Schell—from the Packers to the Bobcats

Produced by University Communications

Story by GCSU senior Elizabeth Newlin

M argaret Brown Schell, ’19, has worked as the communications coordinator for University Communications for over eight years and for University Advancement over one year. In early October, she’ll reach her 10-year anniversary, marking a significant milestone in her career at Georgia College & State University. 

Margaret Schell
Margaret Schell

As the communications coordinator, Schell plays a pivotal role in facilitating effective communication within the university community, ensuring that information flows smoothly and efficiently. Some of her duties include interviewing and writing Front Page articles about alumni and students. She also reviews Front Page announcements and events, as well as the Daily Digest.

Schell’s decision to join Georgia College was driven by a combination of factors. She was drawn to the intimate student-faculty ratio and the vibrant campus atmosphere. Margaret saw the university as an ideal environment to continue to grow in her profession.

Before her tenure at Georgia College, Schell’s journey donned the iconic green and gold uniform as a Green Bay Packers Cheerleader, or “Sideliner” in 1979. Her journey into the world of NFL cheerleading began in her formative years, fueled by her lifelong passion for dance. She started taking dance classes at the age of four until age 13.

Schell was just 16 years old when she became an NFL cheerleader for the Green Bay Packers. 

Green Bay Packers Sideliner Margaret Shell in 1979.
Green Bay Packers Sideliner Margaret Shell in 1979.

“It was not that intimidating and wasn’t anything like it is now,” she said. “Although we had to weigh in before every practice, the guidelines were so strict that we could not perform if we were one pound over the desired weight range.”

Encouraged by a friend, Schell took the opportunity to try out for the Packers’ cheerleading squad. In 1979 you could be 16 or older to tryout, and most of the girls were in their late teens and early 20s. She recalls that despite the pressure and mature feel of the audition process, her dance background provided her with a sense of confidence and familiarity.

“We practiced twice a week and also performed at events outside of the football field,” she said. “We mainly danced to piped-in disco music at Lambeau Field, and at times, we performed at the Milwaukee County Stadium to the Packer Band.”

Although her time cheering for the Packers lasted only one season, Schell’s passion for the team has endured throughout the years and proudly considers herself “100% a Packers fan.”

The 1979 Green Bay Packers Sideliners perform during the Packers vs. Saints game. First clip: Margaret Schell is in the back row, second from right. Second clip: Schell is the first to stand.

She lived across the field from former Packer’s Quarterback and Head Coach Bart Starr and a few streets over from another football great, former Packers Head Coach Vince Lombardi. In fact, her mother’s friend, who was an artist, lived directly across the street from him. Her artworks included a painting of Lombardi, which he and Starr owned.

Though her days on the sidelines may be a thing of her past, Schell remains deeply connected to the NFL cheerleading community. She’s a member of the Green Bay Professional Football Cheerleaders Alumni (GBPFCA) and the National Football Cheerleaders Alumni Organization (NFACO). 

Former Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders face off with former Green Bay Packer Cheerleaders at the 2022 reunion.
Former Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders face off with former Green Bay Packer Cheerleaders at the 2022 reunion.

This year’s NFCAO Charity Reunion is in Boston, where the former New England Patriots Cheerleaders will host the event. The current New England Patriots Cheerleaders will also make a special appearance.

Last year’s charity reunion was at the TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, where the former Jacksonville Jaguars Cheerleaders hosted, and it also included a performance by the Jacksonville Jaguars Cheerleaders. 

“The events are amazing and support charities,” Schell said. “I’ve met former NFL cheerleaders from the Chicago Honey Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts and more.”

In fact, some of Shell’s Green Bay cheer sisters are in Las Vegas, where they’ve volunteered for events leading up to the big game like the “Taste of the NFL.” Proceeds from this event help GENYOUth to end student hunger across the nation.

Through reunions and charity events, Schell continues to strengthen her bond with former teammates and current NFL organization cheerleaders, embodying the spirit and support that defines cheerleading as a sisterhood.

“Cheering for the Green Bay Packers was an incredible experience, and the friends I made along the way are even more amazing,” she said.