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Cool Kid helps special-needs students start cheer team

August 22, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Making the cheerleading squad is a dream for many teenage girls, but for those with mental challenges it can be an impossible goal to achieve.

That dream is coming true for some very special new cheerleaders, all thanks to one very Cool Kid.

Julia Competelli-Pizza was a cheerleader at Valencia High School. Her neighbor and classmate, Tamara, who is a special-needs student, told Julia that she wanted to be a cheerleader too.

"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," said Julia.

They organized the Valencia Star Cheer Team and now perform at many games.

Some students might have shied away from taking on any extra challenges, but Julia is not that kind of student.

"She has huge heart. She has character. You can't do something like that and blur the lines that society makes separating everybody without this incredible character," said special-education teacher Lydia Bauer.

Lots of practice and work went into getting the team ready. But then came the big day, their first game.

"It was amazing," said Julia. "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."

As much as the cheerleaders themselves loved it, Julia got something else out of it.

"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," said Julia. There's nothing better than that."

Julia Competelli-Pizza doesn't see limitations. She sees opportunities for everyone. And that's what makes her our Cool Kid.


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