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New member of Eisenhower cheer squad

Wednesday, May 22, 20131410 views

Lily Smith is a very busy girl.

Within the last few years, she has been in two movies (plus various training videos and PSAs), competed in Special Olympics swimming and track and field, and kept up with young women’s activities at her church. Now this Eisenhower Jr. High eighth grader has added cheerleading to her repertoire.

“Since she was a little girl, she has always wanted to be a cheerleader,” Lily’s mom, Suzie Smith, said.

Lily’s Down Syndrome has never stopped her, or even slowed her pace in pursuing what she wants, and this was no exception. She worked hard to prepare for the tryouts held on April 18, going to cheer clinics and enlisting practice help from one of the school’s former cheerleaders. She put a lot of effort into the original cheer she performed for the tryouts, and that went a long way to getting her in.

“She was the best-prepared in that,” cheer coach Melissa Christensen said.

When Lily found out that she will be part of next year’s cheer squad, “she was really excited,” Suzie Smith said. “She screamed and yelled and hollered.” Lily called her brothers to tell them the good news as well.

Lily has one sister who was an adult when Lily was born, and three brothers between them. Lily was adopted before birth.

“I knew there was a child missing from my life,” Smith said.

It hasn’t always been easy, including some early medical scares, but from the start the whole family has taken care of Lily and treated her like any other child, Smith said.

The EJH cheer girls have also been welcoming to Lily as they prepare for next year’s activities, Christensen said. Most of them are very willing to give her any help she needs.

Lily brings a great team spirit and sense of enthusiasm to the squad, Christensen said.

“Along with her smiles, she will bring the team closer together,” she said.

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