Duncanville High School Sparklers

This month, the Duncanville High School Sparklers from Duncanville, Texas, find their way into our Spotlight. The team, which was formed in the spring of 2012, has already had a tremendous impact on the school and community.

The Duncanville Sparklers cheered with the varsity squad at football and basketball games, but that was just the beginning. The team marched in the town's Christmas Parade, performed at school pep rallies, and participated in a dance competition. Even more impressively, the team has volunteered at numerous special events throughout the community, including the Duncanville Fire Truck Pull (a Special Olympics fundraiser), a food drive to support the North Texas Food Bank, and the March for Respect, a walk to bring awareness to persons with disabilities.

Elizabeth Thompson, the team's coach, says that the Sparklers are on top of the world now that they are known throughout the school as cheerleaders and have formed friendships with their varsity peer partners. She explains, "[T]he girls have gained confidence and self-esteem. They have become true leaders in our school and have developed a sense of belonging. Each time they perform, I hear from people within the school and community about how moved they are to see our girls get out there and share their school spirit. Parents are also very happy to have their children involved in their school in such a positive way."

We are proud to spotlight the Duncanville Sparklers for making dreams come true and for consistently giving back to their school and community!

University of Wisconsin-Platteville Cheer and Stunt

   The Sparkle Effect loves trailblazers, and we're so excited to Spotlight the first Sparkle Effect team at the collegiate level: the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Cheer and Stunt team! The team, although relatively new, has received a tremendously positive response from the fans and even national press, most recently profiled on ESPN-W. The team's coach, Patti Mitch, has become an extraordinary ambassador for The Sparkle Effect. She explains: "As the coach of the first collegiate Sparkle team, I am hoping to get the word out to other teams throughout the country of the amazing gift of having an inclusive cheer team. In the short time that our program has been going, the outpouring of love and emotional support by the community has been nothing short of breathtaking."

Mitch describes the experience of coaching her new team: "As a coach, I could not have been prouder of the entire team. My existing team has shown such compassion, patience, friendship, guidance, leadership and maturity." Mitch has seen first-hand the important life lessons that come from participating on an inclusive team: "This is not something that you can teach someone in a classroom and is a life lesson that is not forgotten. This type of experience . . . tends to create a more nurturing and caring adult who is more likely to continue helping others far beyond their school years." When it comes to students with disabilities who have found a place to shine, Mitch has trouble finding the words to describe what the experience has meant to them: "I cannot begin to speak for them or their families. Perhaps the smiles on their faces are far more descriptive than any words [can convey]. Anyone who takes the time to get to know these athletes will be changed forever. The real gifts are in their courage, their pride, their unwavering drive to learn and accomplish new skills and tasks and the unrivaled joy when they do."

As for the UW-Platteville basketball players, Mitch explains, "I was sitting next to some of the women's basketball team yesterday as they were watching the men's game. These talented, strong bodied, successful athletes were in awe of the determination and accomplishments of the Sparkle athletes. They were truly moved by them."

Mitch also talks eloquently about individual success stories of the athletes on her team, including Lakyn, a charming young lady who loves to wear pink and anything girly, but was told by her high school that they wouldn't waste a spot on her, and refused to even make her an honorary cheerleader. All she wanted to do was be a cheerleader like her big sister. Her mother told Mitch that this team was an answer to their prayers and better than winning the lottery.

The idea for the Platteville team came from Shelby Swanson, a former student from Pleasant Valley High School in Iowa and home to the first inclusive cheerleading team in the nation, demonstrating the ripple effect as students are graduating from high school and bringing the concept of inclusive cheerleading to their colleges. Mitch explains that, from the time Swanson brought the idea to her, on up the chain of command, not one person said no to this team. Mitch reflects, "That, to me is what makes this program special. It is about saying ‘yes' to individuals and their families who most likely have heard ‘no' so many times." Congratulations UW-Platteville and keep up the great work!

Anoka High School Sparkles

It's always so gratifying when we can feature our veteran teams in the Sparkle Effect Spotlight. This month, we celebrate the Sparkles from Anoka High School! As one of the first Sparkle Effect teams to form in the nation, the Sparkles have been part of the Anoka High School cheerleading program since 2010. The Sparkles are fully integrated into the sports programming at Anoka, cheering with the varsity squad at football, basketball, soccer, and hockey games. The girls also perform at school pep fests and volunteer at community events throughout the year.

Although the Sparkles team at Anoka represented the first inclusive cheerleading team in Minnesota, the spirit and success of the team inspired two additional Sparkle Effect teams at Jackson Middle School in Champlin and Centennial High School in Circle Pines!

Kim Heckman, the team's coach, explains that she started the squad after hearing about the Sparkle Effect because she wanted Anoka's girls to cheer for and represent their own school as well as "feel like part of our family." The experience has proved to be transformative for the students on the team, as Heckman described to a local reporter: "I've watched the Sparkle girls become typical cheerleaders. They're louder, they're flirtier, and they've grasped that whole cheerleader spirit. They have more friends . . . Everybody likes more people knowing your name, and I think they all feel that way." But, for Heckman, that hasn't been the biggest surprise: "I went into this hoping the coaching of cheerleading and the varsity girls could make a difference in these girls' lives and I think the reverse has happened. They have made an enormous impact on us and truly blessed us."

For demonstrating longevity and for inspiring the creation of additional teams in the state of Minnesota, we are proud to spotlight the Anoka High School Sparkles cheerleading squad!

 

East Ridge High School Golden Knights

Our Spotlight winners this month, The Golden Knights Cheer and Pep Squad from East Ridge High School in Clermont, Florida, submitted such an awesome application that we are going to let it speak for itself! Check out the creative excerpts below, which play off of our "Are you IN?" campaign!

Are you INterested? You should be! East Ridge High School has our very own Sparkle team, The Golden Knights Cheer and Pep Squad. For us, seeing our new friends have a blast at practice and seeing their faces light up after putting on their new uniforms is a beautiful sight!

Are you INspired? We are! The Golden Knights have enabled us to see beyond our own personal struggles. They have taught us that we can do anything as long as we have the loving support of our teammates. In the beginning, our new athletes were shy and timid. Through encouragement and time, however, these athletes have become comfortable not only around us, but in front of crowds at games, while they cheer with excitement alongside of the Varsity squad. The Golden Knights have proven by their dedication, willingness, and passion that they are capable of anything they set their mind to. They have shown the East Ridge High School cheerleading squad and the entire student body that the only true disability is a negative attitude.

Are you INclusive? Our school is! The Golden Knights get a lot of positive attention while at games and pep rallies. Now, we have cheerleaders, drama club members, and varsity athletes sitting with members of our team. You can see that the students at East Ridge have changed their attitudes toward something that was once socially "un-cool."

Are you INvolved? You can be! We all are so proud and in love with what we do, and even happier to share the same dreams with our new friends. Changing someone's life is a pretty big thing, and we are blessed to be involved.

Are you IN? How could you not be? The goal with most school sports teams is perfection and winning, but the Golden Knights have taught East Ridge High School that sports, school, and life in general, simply need to be fun. For once, how many points we score, how well we land our tumbling, or our ranking for playoffs doesn't much matter. The Golden Knights Pep and Cheer Squad has taught us the true meaning of happiness, and that deserves to be honored.

Congratulations to our Spotlight winners, the East Ridge High School Golden Knights Cheer and Pep Squad!

 

The Bettendorf High School Dusterettes Dance Team


This month, we are so excited to tell you about the Bettendorf High School Dusterettes Dance and Pom team from Bettendorf, Iowa! The team, founded by senior Claire Reisen, just completed a very successful first season. So successful, in fact, that the team has received local recognition and permission to expand at the middle school level!

After weeks of summer practices, the Dusterettes were ready for a fantastic fall season. The team performed not only at Bettendorf's football games, but also at their local Independence Day and Homecoming parades! Reisen tells us that the team is proud to represent Bettendorf High and the larger Bettendorf community at as many local events as possible, and that the team plans to perform at basketball games and a series of local philanthropic events this spring.

Like many of our teams, the girls on Dusterettes are learning that we all have far more similarities than differences. Reisen tells us, "It is an honor to work with the Dusterettes team. They are an awesome group of girls. They may have different abilities, but they all share a love of dance and performance and love being part of a team." Reisen also applauds the work ethic of the team, telling us that most members have never missed a practice!

Bettendorf's students have embraced the team with open arms and, as they have learned the value of acceptance and inclusion, the Dusterettes' confidence has soared. "Their ear-to-ear-smiles say it all," Reisen says. Dusterette parents have also praised the program, as it provides opportunities they never thought possible for their daughters.

The team is committed to continuing to represent Bettendorf with spirit, pride, and enthusiasm for many seasons to come. Reisen tells us, "The team and everyone who participates on it is giving back to others in our community and making a positive difference in our world. To me, that is the most important thing of all!"

We agree, and that's why we chosen the Bettendorf Dusterettes as this month's spotlight winners. Congratulations, ladies, and keep up the great work!

Springfield High School Spartan Sparkles

This month, we are so proud to spotlight the Spartan Sparkles from Springfield High School in Akron, Ohio! The Springfield Sparkles were within the first 15 inclusive teams to form in the nation, and have brought a heartwarming spirit to their community and to the schools in their district. The team defines itself as one of friendship, love, excitement, happiness, progress, and success. The Sparkle Effect couldn't agree more! The Springfield Sparkles have wowed us with their achievements in the last few years. Coach Terry Kyser tells us, "Our hearts smile every time we are with our Sparkles! We seem to always have a success story about one or all of the team members after every practice or game. We never know what great things are going to happen next from our Sparkle members."

Indeed, The Spartan Sparkles have wonderful stories to share. Every member of the team has experienced a transformation in self esteem and confidence. One of our favorite stories is about team member Mikayla. Initially, Mikayla struggled with cheerleading--she found the crowds intimidating and competitions overwhelming. Despite her initial apprehensions, Mikayla has become one of the stars of the team, inspiring fans with her "spirit fingers" and even recruiting new members to join in on the fun!

Obviously, Mikayla is only one of several girls and boys who have benefitted from Springfield's Sparkle program. The team has become an important part of Springfield's school and community, as they cheer at games, pep rallies, and community events. The Sparkles also do their part to give back to the community. For the past two years, they have raised awareness and cheered on participants at their local walk for the Mitochondrial Disease Foundation.

The Spartan Sparkles have also worked hard on behalf of the Sparkle Effect, and provided crucial advice and support to inclusive teams in Norton and Medina, Ohio. Kyser tells us, "The Springfield Sparkles are so blessed to have found the Sparkle Effect." But, we're certain that we're the ones who have been blessed to work with such kinds and caring teams. Congratulations, Springfield, and keep up the great work!

 

Romeoville High School Spartan Sparkles

We are so blown away by this month's Spotlight winners that we dare you to read their story without tearing up. We are honored to shine a bright light on the Romeoville High School Spartan Sparkles from Romeoville, Illinois. The Romeoville inclusive team was one of the first 15 teams in the nation. Their team's story has unfolded around unpredictable events and the response of a team that helped to heal and inspire an entire community.

Lyndsey Banser, a special education teacher at Romeoville, who also serves as the Varsity Cheer Coach and the Sparkle's adult advisor, explains, "This team means so much more to so many people than we ever could have dreamed when it was started. Throughout the last four years, this team has had smiles and tears. This team has brought families back together. This team has inspired those around us to dream more, reach higher, and achieve what they thought was impossible."

Taylor Barcus, a Sparkle cheerleader for her freshman and sophomore year of high school, brought laughter and smiles to all that she came in contact with. At a young age she was diagnosed with autism and a seizure disorder, but this did not stop her from clapping, smiling, and cheering her way into many people's hearts. Unexpectedly, at the end of the summer of 2011, Taylor passed away in her sleep. Although Taylor's teammates were shocked and saddened by the news, they came together to attend Taylor's wake and funeral. Taylor's team members showed up in uniform to pay tribute to such a beautiful and spirited young girl. It was difficult for Taylor's teammates to realize that she would no longer be with them, but incredibly heartwarming to see that Taylor was being buried in her Sparkles' uniform. Taylor's teammates knew at that moment they would have a guardian angel "Sparkling" down on them forever.

Many of the original captains of Sparkle Effect squads are now in college. The first captain of the Romeoville Sparkles team, Samantha Hall, worked throughout her senior year to develop and build the Sparkles program that is still thriving at Romeoville High School today. When Sam graduated in 2010, she dreamed of becoming an accountant or a buyer for a department store. But, she just couldn't shake the memories of her time with the Sparkles. Sam explains: "After I graduated I just couldn't get the Sparkle girls and how much I loved working with them out of my mind." Sam realized her true calling and recently changed her major. She is now studying to become a special education teacher!

The impact of the Romeoville Sparkles doesn't end with the team itself. Lyndsey tells us, "As I reflect on all of the years and girls we have had come through the program I smile on the inside and out. In the beginning, I had no idea what an impact this ‘little' team would have on the school, our community, and beyond. For instance, the girls' basketball team now invites children from our Junior High and from the High school who have disabilities to attend a practice and be their esteemed guest at a "Pack the House" night. We have also talked with several cheer coaches in our conference who are interested in starting a Sparkle team of their own. I can honestly say, this team has changed my life, brought awareness to our student body and community, and has united a group of people for eternity."

 

The Nease High School Sparklers

This month we celebrate the Nease Sparklers as our Squad of the Month! The Sparklers debuted last fall as the first Sparkle Effect team in Florida! The team was instantly welcomed by student body. Fans even showed their support by sporting "Nease Sparkler" t-shirts at school and at the games.

This past winter, the Sparklers decided to pay it forward by starting a community outreach program called "Nease Sparklers Care." In February, the Sparklers invited the entire school to donate items from a wish list for the families of the Ronald McDonald House of Jacksonville. At the end of the month, the Sparklers collected and presented the donated items to the staff. While there, the Sparklers performed cheers for the patients and families and even signed autograph cards. How cool is that?

The parents of the Sparklers say this has been "a dream come true" for their daughters. They say that to witness first-hand the pure joy on the faces of the Sparklers as they cheer alongside their buddies is nothing short of priceless. One Sparkler, Lily, fulfilled a lifetime dream of making her middle school cheer squad in addition to being a Sparkler at the high school. Way to go Lily! The girls on the team have totally bonded and vow that they are not just cheer buddies, but lifelong friends.

We are proud to spotlight the Nease Sparklers for their leadership and big hearts. Congratulations girls!

The South Texas High School Sparkles

Meet this month's Sparkle Effect Spotlight winners, The South Texas Sparkles from St. Paul High School in Lavaca County, Texas! Since January, the Sparkles have been practicing and performing together, as well as serving as role models in their school and community!

Abby Hull, one of the Sparkles' peer mentors, cannot get enough of the new program: "Each of the young athletes brings their own unique talents to the squad. They are always excited to practice new material and give it their all. Their bright smiles are incredibly contagious." The Sparkles were a little shy about their first performance, but after cheering at several games and "stunning" the entire audience with their bright smiles and spirited chants, they have become their school's loud and proud leaders of game night!

This past spring, The Sparkles decided to take their team to the next level and perform at Cheer Power competition at Sea World in San Antonio, Texas. A representative from the team tells us, "At first, the goal of performing a routine for hundreds seemed very difficult to accomplish, but the Sparkles proved these doubts to be outrageous!" When it came time for the competition, The Sparkles wowed fans from all over the state! On top of preparing a dance, jumps, and stunts for their competition performance, the girls also had the exciting honor of leading the opening ceremony of their county's Spring Special Olympics! Team parents were overwhelmed with compliments and gratitude for the spirit the Sparkles brought to the event.

A team parent tells us, "The South Texas Sparkles have continued to provide community-wide spirit. The squad is overjoyed by their previous success and confident that their future endeavors will carry the same positive impact on the girls' lives and the community who shares in the talents they possess."

Great work, South Texas Sparkles! We are so proud to put you in The Sparkle Effect Spotlight!

Pleasant Valley High School Spartan Sparkles

 

It is our extraordinary pleasure to announce this month's Sparkle Effect Spotlight winners, The Spartan Sparkles from Pleasant Valley High School in Bettendorf, Iowa. As the nation's first high school-based spirit program including students with disabilities, and the inspiration for The Sparkle Effect, The Spartan Sparkles have touched the hearts of thousands, and paved the way for dozens of other inclusive spirit programs nationwide.

The Sparkles program had modest beginnings, with 5 peer mentors and 5 Sparkles. It has since grown to include 23 peer mentors and 14 Sparkles, who cheer together at football games, basketball games, The Special Olympics, and local cheerleading competitions. The Sparkles have also made numerous national television appearances, which have earned them celebrity status within their community.

The Sparkles use their celebrity to bring awareness to several causes within their communities as they volunteer at various local events. The Sparkles have cheered at the American Heart Association Walk, the National Down Syndrome Society Buddy Walk, and walks for local non-profit organizations. This past February, the Sparkles even used a practice to put together food bags in support of Kids Against Hunger!

Courtney Bright, one of the team's current peer mentors, says "Being involved with the Spartan Sparkles as a mentor has completely changed my life . . . . [I]t has allowed me to form some of the strongest friendships I have ever known. Spending time with the Sparkles, getting to know them . . . is an absolute dream. But being a Sparkle Mentor goes beyond the cheerleading. We hang out at school, school events, gatherings outside of school, and talk on the phone. This program is an experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my life, and the friendships will last forever."

Sarah Cronk, The Sparkle Effect's president and one of the original five mentors of the Spartan Sparkles program tells us, "The Spartan Sparkles at Pleasant Valley are some of the most inspiring individuals I have ever met. Few match their immense amount of courage, spirit, and compassion, and getting to know them has been one of my life's greatest privileges. They are, and will forever be, my teammates, my friends, my sisters, and my heroes and I don't think I will ever be able to thank them enough for the difference they have made in my life and the lives of cheerleaders everywhere. "

The parents of The Sparkles also give the program rave reviews. Dawn Taghon, whose daughter has been a member of the program since its second season, says "The Sparkles and Sparkle Effect have had a ripple effect on, not only my daughter Korryn's life, but on our entire family as a whole. Korryn has blossomed from all of the positives that come from this amazing group of young women."

Congratulations, Pleasant Valley, and thank you for showing us the power that one small idea can have on the world.


Wethersfield High School Sparkles

This month, we can't wait to tell you all about the Wethersfield High School Sparkles from Wethersfield, CT! As the first squad in New England, the girls at Wethersfield weren't sure what to expect when starting an inclusive cheer program. But, after their first practice, they quickly learned what fun and rewarding experiences inclusive cheerleading can bring!

The WHS Sparkles just finished their debut year, and they've come a long way since their first practice. The cheerleaders at Wethersfield tell us, "In the beginning we had several girls who wouldn't talk or practice with us. They insisted on sitting off to the side for the entire practice. After several weeks of coaxing, they finally came to join the rest of us. We were shocked at how much they opened up!"

Wethersfield's student body has also opened up to The Sparkles squad and shows their undying support both on and off the athletic field. The WHS cheerleaders report that, at their first pep rally, students, parents, and teachers alike cheered louder than they ever had before. The Sparkles also experienced a warm inclusive welcome during the school day. "When our squad proudly wore our uniforms (from The Sparkle Effect!) to school on game days, fellow students would talk to the Sparkle girls and ask them about the game. Knowing that the girls were involved in cheerleading made befriending them simple because other students knew that they had something to talk to the girls about."

After a year of hanging out at school, at practice, and at games, the girls at WHS have become more than teammates; they've become close friends: "We learned that [The Sparkles] love talking about the exact same things we do. Every practice we talk about cute boys, shopping, music, and different things going on in our daily lives."

The Wethersfield cheerleaders also do their part to help spread the message of inclusion throughout their area. At every game, they talk to visiting teams about The Sparkle Effect, hoping to inspire the creation of new inclusive teams in their area: "When cheerleaders from opposing teams come to our games we always make sure to mention our Sparkles squad. We offer to introduce visiting cheerleaders to the Sparkles girls at half-time in an attempt to promote the formation of new squads."

Way to go, Wethersfield! Thank you for making such a huge difference in your school, and paving the way for other New England high schools to do the same!


Pleasant Valley High School Shining Stars Dance Team

This month, we're psyched to bring the Pleasant Valley High School Shining Stars from Bettendorf, Iowa, into the spotlight! The Shining Stars, the Sparkle Effect's 50th team and its first high school dance team, certainly understands the true meaning of inclusion. In setting up their team, the organizers made sure that anyone with a passion for dance could join. Peer mentors are not required to be members of the school's performance and competition team. Shining Stars peer mentor Julianne DeLessio tells us, " We love that our team really can include everybody who wants to participate, no matter what their dance experience. The program has created an even closer connection between our student body and the Shining Stars, because we have a place for everyone. "

The entire Pleasant Valley student body and community has welcomed the Shining Stars with open arms. At the Shining Stars' debut performance, the team received a standing ovation from both home and visiting fans! After the performance, Pleasant Valley students like Sharmista Chintalapalli continued to show their enthusiasm and support by posting to the Shining Stars' Facebook page: "What the Shining Stars did tonight was not only remarkable but beautiful. You girls rock!"

The Shining Stars' parents haven't stopped raving either. One mother reports, "Nobody has ever connected with my daughter the way her [Shining Stars] buddy does; it's amazing how great they are together!" Without a doubt, the Shining Stars have formed lasting bonds. DeLessio tells us, "Although some of the girls used to feel lonely at school, they now have friends around every corner and something they can proudly tell the world about themselves: I am a dancer! Our team has produced a sense of pride, togetherness, and accomplishment within both our school and our community."

The Shining Stars have a busy summer ahead of them. Along with preparing for their second season, they are also giving back by participating in fundraisers for their local Special Olympics. Thanks, Shining Stars, for brightening the spirits of your community!


Farmington High School Sparklers

We are so excited to introduce this month's Spotlight Winners, the Sparklers from Farmington High School in Farmington, Minnesota! The Sparklers just finished their first year as an inclusive squad, and have succeeded in bringing their energy and enthusiasm to as many games as possible. So far, they've cheered at football games, wrestling matches, and basketball half-time shows!

"The reception by the student fans, players, families, and community has been amazing," says Nancy Stein, the Sparklers' coach. "We are so excited to grow the program this next season and offer more students the opportunity to cheer."

Next year the Sparklers plan on continuing to raise the spirits of their community by performing routines at local cheerleading and dance competitions!

"It has been a wonderful season for all," Stein says, "Our FHS Cheerleaders have enjoyed their time with the Sparklers teaching cheers, stunts, and dances. They feel better about themselves and know that they are doing something positive while learning so much in return."

The Sparklers parents have been thrilled with the program as well: "This experience is exceeding our expectations for Blair," says Lynn Mercer, whose daughter cheers on the Sparklers team. "I know sometimes your girls might not be able see how much Blair enjoys cheering, but what she says at home indicates how much she loves being around [the cheerleaders]."

Farmington, we are so proud that you're part of the Sparkle Effect family. Thank you for the positive and lasting impact you've made on your squad, school, and community!


Centennial High School Cougarettes

This month, we are so proud to bring The Centennial High School Cougarettes from Circle Pines, Minnesota into the Sparkle Effect Spotlight! The Cougarettes started cheering three years ago, and since then they have cheered to over 2,000 fans at football games, pep fests, state competitions, and school banquets. The Centennial Cougarettes were also featured on Vh1's Do Something Awards, as part of The Sparkle Effect's segment!

Team mom and coach Susan McMullan tells us, "Over the past several years, Adapted Cheerleading has opened up the minds and hearts of the teenagers in our school district. I have witnessed an overwhelming acceptance and a powerful level of recognition from the Centennial student body and from Varsity Cheerleaders during local competitions. But now, we've even gone further. We had people clapping with us, not just for us. It's like we are now all on the same team."

The Cougarettes have proved to be inspirational leaders in their school. Recently, the team decided to begin each game with their school fight song. The team practiced the words, learned the melody, and coordinated a routine with the varsity cheerleaders. It was a huge success as the crowd of 125 people stood up and joined in!

Indeed, the Cougarettes' spirit is infectious. They even have the entire basketball team cheering! McMullan explained that recently the basketball team initiated a fun, interactive cheer with the Cougarettes. "It got the entire audience giggling and clapping!" McMullan said.

This past summer, our President Sarah Cronk had the privilege of traveling to Minnesota to meet and train the Cougarettes. "They were one of the warmest and most welcoming squads I've ever worked with! They are clearly making a huge impact on their school."

Way to go, Centennial! Thank you for being such excellent role models for cheer teams everywhere!

 


Newman Central High School Shooting Stars

 

We are so excited to announce our first Sparkle Effect Spotlight winners, the Comet Shooting Stars from Newman Central Catholic High School in Sterling, Illinois! It seems fitting that the Comet Shooting Stars should be the first to receive this honor. After all, they were among the first Sparkle Effect squads created and the first squad in the state of Illinois. They were also the first recipients of a Sparkle Effect uniform grant!

The Comet Shooting Stars formed in the summer of 2009 and have come a long way since then! Team mother Ann Walters tells us, "In the beginning stages of the squad several of our Stars were very timid and unsure about being a part of the team. Since that time those children have become social butterflies." 

The Shootings Stars continue to spread spirit on the sidelines of Newman Central's home games. In addition, they have performed at two cheerleading competitions, where their skill and enthusiasm netted them standing ovations! The Stars have inspired not only their audiences but their entire community, as evidenced by the praise and recognition they have received in local publications, including The Daily Gazette and The Observer.

The Shooting Stars truly exemplify our motto, "When everyone cheers, everyone wins." Walters explains, "No words can explain what it means to our children to see the way the Sterling/Rock Falls community have welcomed and praised the inclusion, sportsmanship, teamwork and the countless smiles that the Shooting Stars and Newman Central Catholic High School Cheerleaders have put on the faces of all the fans in the crowd."

Keep up the great work, Newman! We are so proud to put you in the first Sparkle Effect Spotlight!