Spirit Squad includes students with and without disabilities

CLICK HERE to donate to the Lakeside High School Spirit Squad

Evans, GA (WJBF) A new cheer squad at a local high school is the first of its kind here in the CSRA. A Special Education teacher at Lakeside High School in Evans, GA started the Spirit Squad. The club includes students with and without disabilities.

The Spirit Squad invited NewsChannel 6 to their big debut. NewsChannel 6’s Ashley Osborne was there for their first performance at Lakeside High School’s pep rally on Friday.

The crowd went wild when the Spirit Squad took the floor! The group started with a cheer that goes like this–Panther fans we want to see you stomp, and shake it! We are told that this is the favorite among many of the team members.

Senior Brooklyn Hilley has cheered her whole life. She is also the Spirit Squad’s team captain.

“We have practice like every cheer team would,” Hilley explains. “We cheer on teams that don’t necessarily have their own cheer team so like, lacrosse, soccer, JV sports.”

Sophomore Sydney Lovelace also has a long history with cheerleading. She is the squad’s co-captain. “Me and Brooklyn get together and modify the cheers to make them easier to remember.”

The Napier twins, Riley and Rachel, can now cheer together. This is something that has not always been possible for the girls because of Rachel’s disabilities. Their mom Kendra describes how proud it makes her to watch her two girls on the same cheer squad.

“It’s great!” Napier continues, “It’s hard to find a place with Rachel, and as soon as Mrs. Kean said, we’re thinking about doing this, she was real excited, but nervous. But she’s happy because I think it’s a good way for her to come out of her shell.”

Reporter Ashley Osborne turns the mic to Rachel and asks how long she has wanted to be a cheerleader.
“Forever!” Rachel says with a big smile on her face. When asked how it makes her feel that she is now a cheerleader, Rachel says–Happy! Again, with a giggle.

Special Education teacher Melissa Kean started the club.

“I want them to have this experience,” Kean says. “This High School Experience, that everybody else gets that a lot of times, these kids miss out on.”

Kean wants more schools to start inclusive teams. “So that they can get the opportunities and the chance to do this just like we can,” says Kean.

Kean says she is more than willing to help walk you through getting a team started at your school! You can reach her by calling Lakeside High School and asking for Melissa Kean.

Also, the team runs on donations. Scroll to the top of the page to for the link to donate.

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