Neuqua Valley HS puts special needs students on the squad with 'Cheer with a Peer'

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- An inspiring show of school spirit at Neuqua Valley High School is making Chicago proud.

Teens with special needs got the chance to cheer at Friday night's football game through a program called Cheer with a Peer. Cheer captain Adreanne Nelson worked with Neuqua Valley's peer partners and Best Buddies programs to give the opportunity to students who often feel left out of showing their school pride due to their limitations.

"I'm so excited. There's nothing better than being out on the field with all the action, so I think they'll have a lot of fun with it," Nelson said.

"I work with a lot of these students in the classroom, so to work with them on the field is an honor," said Braden McGhee, head cheerleading coach.

The 19 participants were all recruited from the special education classes at Neuqua Valley. They took part in practices after school with the varsity cheer team to prepare them for their big night during the game against Naperville North High School.

And come game time, all the practice paid off.

"I think all the athletes have had fun," Nelson said.
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