California School Cheering for Special-Needs Cheerleading Squad

Beth Greenfield, Shine Staff

California teen Tamara Wilson may be a special-needs student, but that didn't squash her goal of wanting to be a cheerleader at Valencia High School. It was a desire she confided to her friend and neighbor, cheerleader Julia Competelli-Pizza, who sprang into action on her behalf. "That's something that I thought she could do, so we hooked it up together and we got with the school and made our own cheer team," Competelli-Pizza told KABC-TV. Last year, she helped organize the Valencia Star Cheer Team, for all special-needs students The squad – which now performs at many of the school's athletic games – is still going strong.

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Special-education teacher Lydia Bauer praised the generous organizer for making dreams come true for so many students. "She has a huge heart. She has character," Bauer said of Competelli-Pizza. “You can't do something like that and blur the lines that society makes, separating everybody, without this incredible character."

The roar of the crowd at the squad's first game, proved that all that practicing paid off, Competelli-Pizza said. "It was amazing. When the people cheered for them they were thrilled to see how many people really cared that they were there, and they really liked it." She really liked it too.

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"It warms your heart when you look at them, and when they have a dream and you can fulfill their dream. It's just the best feeling in the world," she said. “There's nothing better than that."

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