VERONA, Wis. - Verona High School’s cheerleading team started its season in an unconventional way. Maria Carvalho came to practice, sat the young ladies down in a circle and asked them to say one thing that makes them proud about themselves.
“Some of them really struggled to figure out what it was that they were proud of,” Carvalho said, “but I hope that (from) now on they can start thinking a little more of that and they can empower themselves to be proud of who they are and just empower other people as well.”
With that goal in mind, Carvalho had another suggestion for the season. As a special education teacher at Savanna Oaks Middle School and a #BeYou ambassador, she’s a big cheerleader for students being confident in being themselves and knowing how to verbalize that confidence. Carvalho came up with a cheer that spread that message to game-day crowds.
“It just fit right in with the job they have to do," Carvalho said.
Nina Pacetti is a senior at Verona High School and a captain on the cheerleading squad. Even as a team leader, she sees how hard it can be for some of the younger members to open up. Pacetti also recognizes how important it is for her cheerleading friends to feel more like a family and show mutual support to simply be themselves.
“To me, that just means bringing out your inner self,” Pacetti said. “Show the side that is not what you normally see.”
Some of the athletes on the Verona cheer team also wear #BeYou bracelets to show their pride. If you'd like to become a #BeYou ambassador like Carvalho, reach out to our Time For Kids partners at SSM Health.
Get your weather forecast from people who actually live in your community. We update with short, easy-to-use video forecasts you can watch on your phone every day. Download the iOS or Android app here.
- Things to do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- Milwaukee zoo visitors get first glimpse of red panda cub, Kiki
- Suzanne Whang, 'House Hunters' host, dies at 56
- World's first vagina museum to open in London
- Get your gourd early! Cold, wet weather kills 20-percent of pumpkins as local farms prepare to open
- How to handle the adult bully in your life