ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - In the middle of Friday night football hoopla, one very special team took the field at a high school game in Albuquerque: a team of cheerleaders unlike any others in the state.
Around a dozen students who are part of Manzano High School’s Special Olympics cheer team made their game debut in front of hundreds of football fans at Wilson Stadium.
The group was started in 2011 as a way to give special-education students a chance to practice cheerleading. Since its start, the group has kept growing. Now, 14 students including boys and girls are a part of the team.
Jessica Berry is a varsity cheerleader for Manzano and works with the students teaching them cheers. The team is the only one of its kind in New Mexico.
“They're hard workers, and they enjoy doing it, and I love doing it,” said Berry. “We're doing the same chants that our varsity girls are doing, so they're working hard and they love doing it.”
While the team has being going for the last two years, Friday night’s game was the first time the cheerleaders have actually gotten a chance to appear in front of a game-day crowd.
Kaitlynn Badgley is one of the team members who says the opportunity has been surprising and exciting.
“Doing jumps and running the cheers and all of that, it's kind of hard, but we get used to it,” said Badgley.
Team leaders hope to get the squad cheering at more sporting events this school year. They also hope to inspire others to start their own teams.
“It's so motivational for others to watch and I don't know, to be a part of the team, it’s great,” said Berry.
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