Verona cheerleading leads Wildcats off the field

3 girls with special needs on cheer squad
Verona cheerleading leads Wildcats off the field

Watching just a few minutes of Verona cheer leading practice, laughs and smiles aren’t hard to find.

The team learns stunts, cheers, and dances, while leading the way for a bigger cause — accepting others. Something they are learning from head coach Staci Schneider.

The girls are learning to be “leaders of the school and being there as role models for all the other sports,” Schneider said.

Three girls on the team — Morgan, Grace and Elizabeth — have special needs. That doesn’t stop them from leading alongside their classmates. It also doesn’t intimidate Morgan Strutt.

“I wasn’t nervous at all.”

Rather than being spectators, all three girls are involved in cheers, dances, and even stunts. Their teammates Megan and Molly hope this sets a precedent not just in Verona, but everywhere.

“The message is being sent that, no matter who you are, there’s some place that you can be.”

Parents like Grace’s mother Colleen Penwell are grateful that students in this day and age have the maturity to accept others.

“They’ll be better people for it and the school will be better, too.”