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Glancer Magazine




The kindness movement continues at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, IL. A school that is demonstrating first-hand that inclusion, acceptance, and tolerance exist. There are girls on the football team; boys on the cheerleading, dance, and flag teams; and back again for even more fun this year, the Cheer with a Peer program.

Friday Night Lights are indeed brighter thanks to the founder of the program, Neuqua Valley graduate Adreanne Nelson, who didn’t want her friends from Neuqua Peer Partners and Best Buddies to feel left out.

Adreanne’s idea was well received last year by Varsity Head Coach, Kathy Tichelbaut who proudly says the cheerleaders are Ambassadors of the school and happily provides ample opportunity to all athletes to be a part of the Neuqua Cheer Program.

The coaches are grateful for the outpouring of community support, especially from Naperville business owners, Eve Leinonen of Affordable Hearing Solutions and Kelly Blaszczyk of The Reading Tree, who stepped up to help back the Cheer with a Peer program by purchasing matching ‘uniforms’ for all the kids.

Brandon McGhee, Varsity Head Coach and a Support Teacher at Neuqua Valley High School, is thankful to be able to bring his two passions together.

“I'm so blessed to be able to work at a school with such supportive administration and an open-minded student body,” Brandon says. “I'm glad I get to have some of the students that I work with personally, out on the field with us and seeing their faces light up!”

He hopes to show the Neuqua community that although some of these students deal with challenges in everyday life, they are still extremely productive, high-functioning, and happy; absolutely loving the opportunity to be socially and athletically involved, just like everyone else.

Varsity cheerleader, Emily Weil gets to experience this positivity daily as an active Peer Partner at Neuqua. She couldn’t be more excited for this year’s event.

“To be able to merge peer partners and cheerleading is such an amazing experience for me,” she shares. “I love teaching the athletes something I’m passionate about and seeing how much joy it brings them. It is indescribable to watch the athletes have so much fun cheering and I think it shows how much cheer can bring people together.”

The Cheer with a Peer program promotes school spirit and inclusion and has allowed everyone who is involved to flourish and become more enriched.

Thirteen participants, recruited from the special education classes at Neuqua Valley High School, will cheer on the Wildcats Friday, October 12th at 7:30 p.m. against Metea Valley for the first half of the game.

Go Kindness! Go Team!

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