Friday, January 28, 2011

Dream Allstars' Destiny Special Needs Squad

 


Last weekend, I had the honor of appearing at the Maryland State Championships, a large cheerleading event held in Baltimore, Maryland. Throughout middle school and high school, I was a cheerleader. In middle school and through my first couple of years of high school, I was a member of Dream Allstars, a competitive cheerleading organization that travels throughout the country to compete.



In 9th grade, I also tried out and earned a spot on my high school’s Varsity cheer squad. It was quite an honor to receive a school Varsity letter my freshman year! I continued to do both until 11th grade, when I decided to only cheer for my high school squad due to the demands of a more difficult course-load, helping lead my school’s Key Club, and applying to colleges.


Cheerleading is a wonderful sport for children with special needs. They all have an integral role in the routine and a part of something greater than themselves. There were three special needs squads competing in this venue. When Dream Allstars’ special needs squad, Destiny competed, there was a problem with their music and it didn’t play.




The athletes are taught their routine to 8-counts, like dancers, so when the music failed to play, their coaches and helpers started counting and clapping out 8-counts for Destiny to perform their routine along to. The entire audience rose to their feet clapping and counting to the 8-counts, almost like it was a standing ovation as Destiny performed. It was truly inspiring!!




The little athletes love to try on the Teen International crown. They light up as they revel in their hopes and dreams of one day becoming teen queens themselves!




Juliana McKee

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