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Teens cheer their way to top honors at camp

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Updated: October 7, 2013 12:34PM



Three cheers for the Portage cheerleaders.

Well, actually, four cheers, as four members of Portage High School’s varsity cheering squad earned All American Cheering Squad honors at the UCA cheer camp this summer.

The super cheerers are freshman Jessica Grochowski, junior Alexis Pena and seniors Taylor Colbert and Kaitlin Moore. This honor gives these lovely ladies the opportunity to attend a cheerleading activity in London, and both seniors are invited to participate in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.

If you have never watched the amazing stunts cheerleaders perform in competition, you have missed seeing some terrific athletes accomplish some mighty astounding feats. Anyone who doesn’t think these young people are athletes needs to observe their practices.

Congratulations to all or you, and I hope you realize more dreams as you perform all those wild and crazy antics.

Jerry Davich’s column on Monday had me smiling from ear to ear while my head kept nodding “yes.” If you missed it, he wrote about the most important professionals (and often times, the most maligned) — teachers!

His comment, “Teachers mean more to our country’s future than most any other profession” is fact, not fiction. Were it not for teachers, you probably wouldn’t be reading this. No other professional — doctor, lawyer, clergy, musician, and, yes, even teachers themselves — would be capable of performing, and yet it remains an “underpaid” profession.

But, having “been there and done that,” I can honestly say that all the educators I was honored to work with and rubbed shoulders with throughout my teaching career were in that profession because of the inner something it takes to want to see the light bulb in a child burn brightly as they continue to learn.

Are we all perfect? Far from it. Is every teacher a great one? Certainly not. But if you can find any profession that has those attributes, please let me know.

And if you never finished high school and want to get that most important diploma there is a group of teachers to help you get that piece of paper. New Vista High School in Portage, sponsored by Neighbors Educational Opportunities, Inc., offers night classes beginning Sept. 11. Classes will be held from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Registration is Sept. 9 and 10 at the school, located at 5391 Central Ave. The school is a fully accredited charter high school filled with caring teachers, so go for it!

And I hope all of you think about your favorite teacher, and silently thank him or her that you can read, write, talk in proper sentences, are able to fill out an application correctly for a job or college, and remember who believed in you, or even cracked the whip to keep you learning.

Thanks, Jerry, for reminding all of us about the importance of teachers and education. I never thought I’d say this, but you are my pet person of the week for your insightfulness.

This past Friday, I was honored, along with 100 others, to be invited to a 30th birthday party for Sarah Hunt.

Sarah could be a model with her gorgeous red hair and beautiful blue eyes and a smile that makes you smile back. She is no ordinary young lady, and that makes her even more lovable. She’s not much of a talker, but she’s a great listener.

Her party rivaled any wedding reception, anniversary party or any other celebration I’ve ever been to. Held at the Old Towne Banquet Center in Valpo, every chair was robed in white with a beautiful pink ribbon around it. Each table was adorned with large cylindrical vases filled with flowers, and there was a special table filled with pink and white candies of every kind imaginable.

The DJ’s choice of music were all Sarah’s favorites — she’s a swing dancer, and loves listening to a variety of bands and singers. The toast her dad, Rich, and sister, Autumn, made had everyone laughing and crying at the same time, while her mom had Sarah, dressed in a dazzling pink lacy chiffon dress, in a bear hug.

When the dancing started, Dad and Sarah were the first couple, and, as he held her close to him, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. You see, Sarah will never have the opportunity of a wedding reception, or even to get out on the dance floor and boogie like most of us can.

Sarah spends her time in a wheelchair, and has difficulty with hand movement as well. Her diagnosis is called Rett syndrome, which effects only girls. When she was younger, she walked and talked, but as she got older, she began losing speech and developed other neurological difficulties, including tremors and hand-wringing. But she’s never lost her ability to smile, and she even flirts with her doctors.

Her parents consider her a blessing and are honored to have her as their daughter. No wonder this very special celebration for a very special young lady left a lasting impression on all of us.

And you know what? I’m blessed and honored to have her in my life too.

Now I hope you have a great day because you deserve it. Thanks for reading. Fly your flag.



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