Friday, August 27, 2010

Wheelchair users participate as members of Nashville high school cheerleading team

From The Stir, a cafemom blog:

Life imitates Glee yet again, at Wilson Central High School in Nashville, Tennessee. Not one, but two high school girls who live with disabilities have become cheerleaders.

Cera Anderson is in a wheelchair due to Muscular Dystrophy, but doesn't let that stop her on the Wilson football field on any given Friday night. She's been made an honorary cheerleader, and appears to be making her teammates proud.

Anderson had a role model in Gabby Conklin, the other honorary cheerleader who joined the squad last season. Conklin is confined to a wheelchair due to Cerebral Palsy, but that doesn't mar her enthusiasm as she talks about her friendships made and how grateful she is for the support from the coach, her teammates, and the rest of the school.

While some cheerleading coaches may balk at disabled students joining an athletic team, Coach Stacy McKinley seems to have her heart in the right place. (I'm wondering if she was inspired by Sue Sylvester's moment of weakness/strength when she let Becky join the Cheerios.)

McKinley emphasizes that the cheerleading squad can all learn from their teammates, whether or not one can jump higher than another.

Anderson and Conklin are certainly teaching their entire school about how capable we all are -- regardless of the challenges we're given.