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The Sparkle Effect creates opportunities for differently-abled cheerleaders

The Sparkle Effect supports schools in efforts to implement cheer squads for students with disabilities to participate with typically developing peers. - Courtesy photo
The Sparkle Effect supports schools in efforts to implement cheer squads for students with disabilities to participate with typically developing peers.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

For the Reporter

The Kent School District has a cheer squad that includes students with disabilities.

An organization called the Sparkle Effect helped develop the new squad. The Sparkle Effect supports schools in efforts to implement cheer squads for students with disabilities to participate with typically developing peers.

Eleven veteran cheerleaders from Kentridge High School will be mentoring participants in the new squads, called Sparkle squads. Participants are from Kentridge and Kentwood high schools and Mattson Middle School.

"We are energized by the outpouring of support from the school communities so that every student, regardless of ability, has the opportunity to shine — to sparkle," said Amy Wiskerchen, school counselor and Kentridge Sparkle cheer co-advisor.

Parents are excited about the opportunity for new cheerleaders.

"The community and togetherness that the squad displays is amazing and heartwarming, both on and off the floor," Cristal Shaw, parent of BreeAnn Shaw, from Kentwood. "The look on BreeAnn's face when she is out there is truly what the Sparkle Effect is all about. It's her few minutes to shine."

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