"We've never had a special needs team before, so we started one last year" said Alexandrites Coach Melissa Mansi
Spirit Zone Too's special needs team the 'Alexandrites' got excited for the upcoming 2013-2014 cheerleading season with an open house Sunday morning.
Coach Mansi said "We get the kids comfortable. Learning new things, getting comfortable with the people in a new environment. Then with the team starts, they are here once a week for 2 hours and learn a full 2 minute routine."
Now in their second season, the Spirit Zone Too's special needs team is made up of girls and boys with varying disabilities with the help of other cheerleaders from the Spirit Zone program and Greenwich High School.
Coach Mansi started the program last year, connecting her educational goals of becoming a special education teacher with her cheerleading background. She said "I'm going to school for special education and elementary education in hopes to become a teacher. I started working here last year and the owner Ann said we should [create a special needs team] and I said absolutely! I'll put it together, I'll do all the calenders and it's just blossoming"
Once the season starts in September, the team will learn a complete routine with stunts, jumps and cheers for a competition.
"They compete locally in Conncticut. They do go on a big trip to Maryland for a competition. A huge crowd, a huge stage. They get trophies, they get backpacks and shirt and have a good time."
Coach Mansi hopes the program continues to grow and help athletes better understand those with special needs.
Coach Mansi added "I hope to spread the knowledge of special needs and get other gyms interested in starting a team like this because everyone gets involved. It teaches not only the special needs students but the other athletes in the gym how to come together."
For more information about Spirit Zone Too's Alexandirtes, visit www.CTSpirit.com