Special Needs Students Steal the Spotlight

Photo courtesy of Rachel Harvey

Juliane Francia

Special needs students received major applause after performing the material they learned at the second annual special needs clinic.

“It was so much fun,” participant Mageena Williams said.

There were nine girls of varying ages who participated in the clinic put on by the Varsity cheer squad. They were taught chants and a dance that they performed before the boys varsity basketball game against Shawnee Mission North.

The idea of the special needs clinic was first introduced by head cheer coach Kayley Otto.

“I came up with the idea my first year as a coach when we were at an away basketball game and the other school had a girl with special needs cheering with them,” Otto said. “I thought it was so cool! I couldn’t stop watching and she was so happy! I asked Mr. Perkins if it’d be okay to try, and then the following year we gave it a shot. Everyone who participated seemed to embrace the new experience, so we have made it a part of our program.”

One participant, Taylor Rueger, was the sister of a varsity cheerleader, Lexi Rueger. This was Taylor’s second time participating in the clinic.

“I love the clinic,” Lexi said. “Interaction with other kids is really important for people with special needs and the clinic is a fun way to do that. Taylor’s participation in the clinic makes me really happy, because it is nice to see her with her friends.”

Here is a video of the performance:

Video courtesy of Meredith Clark

Cheer hopes to continue on with the tradition and gain more participants in the years to come.