They try on the old cheer uniforms and their faces completely light up. As they begin meticulously working through the cheer that they have been for weeks, it feels as though it has come completely together. Their teacher smiles and counts along with them to make sure they are hitting their marks. The girls beam as they work out the details of the cheer.
The Pathfinders Club will participate in a virtual cheer competition as a part of Special Olympics Texas’ Winter Games. There will be entries in both individual and team cheerleading events.
“For the last three weeks our girls have practiced a cheer that is given from Special Olympics,” adaptive P.E. teacher Christy Bateman said. “Since Covid has shut down basically everything for Special Olympics, they have started virtual competitions, so we just video the kids competing and [we will] upload it through their Special Olympics website.”
They will be graded on their arm placement, how well they project their voice, and how well they know the cheer. To make these requirements, Bateman has helped them gain confidence and find details to make their cheer routine stand out.
“Some girls did jumps and leaps to individualize their cheer,” Bateman said. “We’ve learned a lot the last couple of three weeks about ourselves and how to be confident, how to say the words, enunciate, be loud, be proud, and how to smile through it all.”
This week the girls have been able to practice while in old cheerleading uniforms. They also learned how to fix their hair to fit the cheer bow.
“They were super excited,” Bateman said. “I’ve even received some phone calls from moms last night that their girls were so excited that they could not even sleep because that’s all they wanted to talk about.”
The submissions will be sent in this week and will be judged next week.
“I just want everybody to know not to underestimate our students with special needs,” Bateman said. “They have such joy in life and they really set their bars high. I want to be the best that I can be for them and just offer [them] opportunities to have fun and be joyous and to just love life.”