The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

Stillwater Pony Express

Trust Club Adapted Cheer Squad debuts

Trust Club Cheer Squad debuts their first inclusive cheer at the adapted soccer state tournament. Assistive technology makes it possible for students who communicate differently to be a part of the holler back cheer.

The high school offers many opportunities for students of all abilities. This year a fun new activity has opened the door for students to be a part of the adapted sports community.

The newly formed Trust Club Cheer Squad is a group of Trust Club members working together to create adapted and inclusive cheers that all students can participate in.  The squad practices and creates their inclusive cheers during Trust Club office hours. They cheer at all home games for the adapted sports teams. The current number of squad members is around 15. Their goal is to get more students to come out and support our talented adapted athletes.

Paraprofessional and cheer squad advisor Lorrie Shortridge pitched the idea of the cheer squad to the trust club leadership team and school administration.

“My passion is to always find ways for all students to feel included and to have opportunities to be a part of their community. The cheer squad is another way for students of all abilities to learn and grow together,” Shortridge said.

Special Education Administrator Denise Cote was thrilled to support the implementation of the cheer squad. “The formation of this squad sends a powerful message of inclusivity. It promotes acceptance among the larger community, and at the same time, brings awareness about the capabilities and talents of individuals with disabilities,” Cote said.

The squad’s motto, Inclusion Is Our Cheer, is the heart of inclusion. Ability is in everyone and opportunities like this make a difference. We are all Ponies and everyone should have opportunities like this to be included.

— Mikki Martin

Freshman Anella Rosckes is a member of the cheer squad. Her mother Christie Rosckes said,  “We are very happy with the creativity and support for our daughter’s freshman year. The cheer squad is a place for her to belong as well as for us as parents to be out in the community and connect with other families.”

The squad debuted their first inclusive, adapted holler back cheer during the state soccer tournament. Students who communicate with assisted technology used recordable buttons to call out the letters and got the fans involved in cheering on the Ponies to a fourth place finish.

Special education teacher Mikki Martin said, “I hope that the squad brings more attention to the adapted sports program.”

Martin feels that her students are making meaningful connections with their peers on  the squad.

So far this year the squad has cheered on the adapted soccer team to the state tournament with a fourth place finish. They have been instrumental in getting more students to come to the games and cheer on the team.

Rosckes said, “It is pretty amazing in their first few matches, their cheers may have contributed to the adapted soccer team heading to state.”

Grateful to work with such dedicated people, Cote feels they do not see their work as a job necessarily, but an opportunity to inspire others to promote diversity and inclusion.

The cheer squad is off to a successful start with their first adapted cheer during the state soccer tournament. Join them for the next unique new cheer on Dec. 14 as the adapted floor hockey season begins.

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About the Contributors
Camryn Handberg
Camryn Handberg, Photography Editor
My name is Camryn Handberg. I am a sophomore. I am a photo editor for the newspaper. I am in Trust club and I am a cheerleader on the adapted cheer squad. I am also part of the Pixie Park Crew. I enjoy building adapted fairy gardens with my crew. I love to watch movies and hang out with my friends. I am looking forward to getting some cool photos and being able to do better interviews with my new communication device this year.   
Cathleen Costello
Cathleen Costello, Photography Editor
My name is Cathleen Costello.  I am a sophomore and a photographer editor for the Pony Express. I am a member of trust club, a cheerleader on the adapted cheer squad and part of a group called The Pixie Park Crew that meets after school once a week to work on a Davinci Fest project. I enjoy building in my she shed fairy workshop at my house.  I look forward to becoming a better writer and photographer for the Pony Express.  

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