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February 3, 2003

Deaf cheerleading squad to compete in Hawaii

From: KRQE, NM - 03 Feb 2003

Riverside, California-AP -- A Riverside, California, cheerleading squad may seem like all the others competing in Hawaii later this month, but its not.
This squad can't hear the music. It's the first group of deaf cheerleaders ever to attend the Aloha International Spirit Championships.

The ten members are students from the California School for the Deaf.

Some of them use hearing aids, while the others depend on their teammates to help them stay on beat.

Their coach stands in front of them and gives them as finger count to signal the start of the music.

One state cheerleading official says, "It shows that athletic opportunities cross all boundaries."

The participants like it, too. Sixteen-year old Cesar Ayala says the hearing teens seem shocked to see how well the deaf can do with their cheers.

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved.