Saturday, February 8, 2014

Windham cheerleaders have spirit - By Jamie Gandreau

On Saturday, February 1, Becca Keenan realized her dream of not only being a cheerleader but being able to take the blue mat with her teammates at “Cheers from the Heart”, a cheerleading competition held at Biddeford High School which benefited area charities.  The competition has been in existence since 1999 and has donated over $130,000 dollars to local charities and children in need. 
The Windham varsity cheerleaders worked diligently to adjust their routine to incorporate all members of the team including alternates.   It was important to all the girls that everyone be able to compete in this charity event where the emphasis is placed on the kids having fun.  There were many changes to formations and stunts to accommodate all 21 cheerleaders versus using only the 15 cheerleaders who had competed at the Class A Regional Cheering Competition the prior Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center.  That day they finished ninth out of 22 teams and achieved their highest scores all season.

It feels amazing and I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to have coached Becca for the first time as a rookie with all of the other talented cheerleaders at Windham High School.  I feel I was given the privilege to coach Becca this season for many reasons.  She truly became the teams’ greatest cheerleader and never ceased to motivate the girls and make sure they all stayed focused.  It was truly an honor for me to watch Becca grow both as a cheerleader and a confident young woman on a daily basis with the encouragement from her teammates whom she calls her “friends.”  She saw beyond the challenges of her disability and learned all the necessary skills to be able to participate in the cheering competition.  Kudos to Becca!

I wondered for a moment if Becca would be a little overwhelmed with all the cheering and screaming as she walked onto the mat.  But, once again, she amazed me by joining arms with her teammates and showing everyone how confident she was by flashing a smile that reached from ear to ear.  Becca and all the cheerleaders rocked their routine from start to finish with confidence, spirit and pride.  Becca won the hearts of many and together we all proved that none of us should ever let our fears or a disability be an obstacle on the path to achieving our dreams.

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