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Dec 4, 2015 7:30 PM

Special needs students and peer partners in Bedford take their cheerleading team to Florida

BEDFORD - A group of local girls are giving new meaning to the word "cheer."

Since 2013, the Bedford Jaguar Adaptive Cheer Program has paired girls with special needs with peer helpers - a partnership that has a lot of people cheering.

Jamie Fagan's daughter is on the team and says it allows kids with special needs to be mainstreamed.

"I think its important to provide our girls the same opportunities the other children get and having an inclusive cheerleading team has done that," she said.

The team will represent New Hampshire next week in Florida, where they'll perform with four other adaptive teams from around the country.

Their coach Kate Spencer couldn't be more proud.

"To watch the reaction of the crowd when these girls perform, the really show you what it's about to be a team and to work together as a team. And the excitement on their faces is just contagious," she said.

The opportunity is boosting these youngster's self confidence - and changing their lives.

"Every time, before we get on the mat, she jumps up and down and gets really excited," said Casey, a team member who is a peer partner with Emalie.

As these cheerleaders head to the Sunshine State, they'll have a massive cheering squad of their own as parents, teachers and friends wait for them back home.

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