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'They're a part of our cheer program': Thurston Spirit Squad has found their groove

Thurston Spirit Squad performs at homecoming pep rally.

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - While many high school students across the region look forward to Friday night football, Thurston High School students are especially excited for their homecoming.

At the school's pep rally on Friday morning, Thurston's Spirit Squad helped get the crowd warmed, dancing around and ricking the gym with intense choreography and enthusiasm.

The team, led by a group of ladies from the varsity cheer team, is comprised of students with various developmental disabilities.

"They're a part of our cheer program," said senior coach Taylor Westbrooks. "They're not just the spirit squad, they're a part of Thurston Cheer."

Members of the squad say it's an important part of the school culture, giving all students the opportunity to break down barriers and labels, as well as a chance to support one another.

"Each kid is different from one another, but they're all really great kids, and they're super sweet," said junior coach Sam Langlois.

The Spirit Squad only competes a few times a year, but you can find the squad's leaders cheering on the sidelines at Thurston football games.

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