A final home game for the Sterling Comets. Where the attention’s split, both on and off the court. The unique squad has everyone cheering.
If it’s Friday night, you can bet you’ll find the Newman Catholic cheerleaders warming up for the basketball game.
Among the cheerleaders are eight Shooting Stars, a squad made up of students from all over the area, with special needs. One of the first in Illinois. It all started with a cheerleader named Tess.
“When I went to school here my senior year, Miss LeMay invited my younger sis Tess to cheer with us,” said Jamie Magnafici, Tess’ older sister.
Tess who is now 23, is the oldest cheerleader on the squad.
“I like to dance, jump, go up high,” said Tess.
The cheerleaders can start at any age and cheer until they’re 21. Coach Susie LeMay made an exception for Tess. She now holds the title of active coach.
“Tess couldn’t stand back and just sit and watch, she has to be in it,” said LeMay.
All of them have different personalities, but all add something extra to the squad.
“They’re just as good as everybody else, they just learn a little bit differently,” said Cindy Delafuente, who’s daughter is on the squad.
You can find them on the sidelines with the other cheerleaders and at half time, they’re right there are center court performing. While they’re learning new cheers, stunts and dances every week, they’re also teaching.
“There’s no boundaries, they can do anything they want and they set their mind to it,” said LeMay.
The Shooting Stars have also competed in cheerleading competitions as well.