Friday, December 11, 2009

Quincy's Angels

The following story ran in the Thursday, December 10, 2009 Dunlap Reporter

Boyer Valley freshman Quincy Baker has a lot of school spirit. He's really wanted to participate in school activities and be a part of a team just like his older brother, Senior Colton Baker. But Quincy is a special needs student with a lot of limitations. It isn't always easy for him to communicate, he's endured hundreds of surgeries in his short lifetime and because he's so slim, a lot of people assume that he's more frail than he is.

For a long time it looked like school sports was just out of the question. But part way through football season last fall, Quincy had three "angels" intervene for him. Senior Football Cheerleaders Sasha Meggers, Meckensie Jensen and Christine Harriott realized that Quincy's school spirit could be put to good use. All three girls had served at different times as helpers or baby sitters for "Q" as they call him. Sasha was practically a sister to him, having grown up as next door neighbors with the Bakers in Dow City.

The three Seniors talked to their Coach, Ted Mallory, and Quincy's Mom, Paula Ritterbush Eickholt and the next thing he knew, Quincy was part of the squad. Meggers, Jensen, and Harriott had been cheering for Boyer Valley since the seventh grade, so Quincy's been exposed to every cheer they have and the girls had often taught them to him. They joke about being his girlfriends, but whenever he se's a photograph of any of the three girls in a yearbook or on Coach Mallory's desk, he lights up and points to his squad-mates.

Qunicy cheered at home football games in 2009. He plans on cheering at home basketball games this year too, although because of the inherent danger of balls, players and referees, he will be in the stands directly beside the squad. At the season opener in Missouri Valley, on of the cheerleaders was actually hit in the head with a ball. Coach Mallory frequently has to dodge colissions and crashes when he takes pictures for the yearbook and the Reporter.

Quincy's three angels have moved on from cheerleading. Harriott will graduate at semester, Jensen is putting more hours in at her job in Soldier and Meggers has been focusing on being Captain of the Boyer Valley Drill Squad- which just brought home their fifth first place State rating for pom in a row. Even though they're moving on, the girls still have plans for Quincy. They want to take him to his first prom.

This year's basketball Cheer squad features four Sophomores, two Freshmen and a Junior. Only Sophomore Cammey Hast has cheer in high school before, though another four have cheered in junior high. Mallory has been impressed with their energy, enthusiasm and initiative at practices.

"If they can push past their stage fright," he says "they will be incredibly effective at raising spirit at games." He thinks they've got a lot of skill and have a ton of potential.

Mallory has coached both middle school and high school cheer at Boyer Valley since 2001. Before moving to Iowa, he coached at Los Angeles Lutheran Jr/Sr High School in Sylmar, California. He lives in Charter Oak with his wife Bethany and their three daughters.

No comments: