Houston High Students With Special Needs "Sparkle" At Game

GERMANTOWN, TN - It was another Friday night football game under the lights at Houston High School, but it was also the school's Sparkle Cheer Squad's big debut.
the squad is made up of 7 girls with special needs and 8 typical cheerleaders.
"Its typical cheerleaders have been just wonderful with the girls. I mean they volunteered to do it so it has been just awesome to watch and see the interaction between them," said Melissa Gray the squad's teacher sponsor.
"This program is kind of about not just focusing on us, but more focusing on them and letting their sparkle shine, and showing everyone else," said captain Brook Evans.
Evans and Baylee Davis have become teammates and good friends since joining the team.
"Practice has been going really good, I love it," said Baylee Davis with smile.
The Sparkles are the first of its kind in the area, but one of 180 squads across the country participating in the the national "The Sparkle Effect's" program.
The national program was started by a woman who wanted to help students with disabilities be active in school, after seeing her brother, who has autism, light up when he got a chance to be involved.
The teams give students of all abilities a chance to show their spirit.
"When I see her do it and when I see how excited she was, especially putting on the uniform, it brought tears to my eyes. Because it was just touching to me because she does get to be a part of the school and a part of a program," said Baylee's mother Cindy Reese.
This may have been the Sparkles' first appearance but it won't be their last.
They plan to cheer at the remaining home games this season.

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