Katahdin High School Cheerleader Gains Pride in Herself 

A small, but energetic squad cheers on the Katahdin High School Cougars.”They’re just such great girls. I have the best cheerleading squad ever,” said cheerleading coach Danielle Chong.The group was so small at the beginning of the year that they needed one more girl in order to officially have a squad. One of the cheerleaders suggested inviting junior Kayla Guiggey to join. Kayla has down’s syndrome and had been looking for ways to get involved at school.”It was so amazing. I was so happy,” said Kayla.She joined the squad and quickly began learning the cheers, jumps and motions.Shes said, “It’s fun to learn a lot of cheers, it’s a lot of hard work.””We had practices almost after every day of school and Kayla has not missed one practice or a game. Actually she’s the only cheerleader who hasn’t,” said Chong.That’s because Kayla loves to cheer.It’s at games like the Katahdin vs Central Aroostook game during tourney week where she realizes what all of that hard work was for.”It pays off at the games,” said Kayla.Her mom Debora Guiggey is so happy to be able to cheer on her cheerleader.”When she was born 18 years ago, we would never have expected that she’d be a cheerleader today, so [it’s a] huge accomplishment for her,” said Guiggey of Staceyville.Now Kayla has Cougar pride and a new sense of pride in herself.