SNOHOMISH -- In the Snohomish High School cafeteria Friday everybody was fired up about the first football game of the year -- especially the cheerleaders.
A group of them stood in their uniforms chatting with two special education students, Sydni Morton and Hailey Plucker, about the thrill of Friday night under the lights.
What’s special about this cheer squad is that Sydni and Hailey won’t be spending this season in the stands watching their Panthers play. They’ll be on the sidelines cheering them on.
Sydni and Hailey, both living with Down syndrome, are now official members of the Snohomish High cheerleading squad.
"I help my football team win!" Exclaimed Hailey, a junior at the school.
Sydni's mom, Holli, wanted her daughter involved in an after-school activity like any other kid, so she asked the cheer coach if the two girls could be considered. The answer was a resounding, "Yes!"
"It's an opportunity we never thought would happen," said Holli, wiping away tears. "This means the world to all of us."
The girls practice regularly with the team and perform for the second quarter of each game. It’s one more way to move the ball forward for kids with disabilities and for the girls to live normal lives.
"We're just gonna go with it and enjoy every minute," said Hailey's mom, Sherri.
The girls aren't always in synch with each other during their routines, but they are in step with what really matters – bringing pure joy to a couple of kids who definitely deserve it.
"It feels amazing," beamed Hailey.
It’s a feeling that’s contagious -- one of compassion and friendship that many in Snohomish will likely be holding onto long after the games are over.
Copyright 2016 KING