A handful of students were drawing, discussing class work and working on their computers but one was listening to music and moving to the rhythm.
Star Equality Griffith is a tenth-grader at Venice High School. She’s outgoing. She loves to dance. She is a student with Down Syndrome.
“Star is super vocal and independent. She is very smart. She is a very unique student,” said Melissa Cornelius, an alternate curriculum teacher for students with intellectual disabilities. “She is a leader to her class and has strong comprehension skills.”
Ms. Cornelius played a big part in Star becoming a cheerleader. She met with Karen Griffith, Star’s mom, when she enrolled at Venice last year.
“Ms. Cornelius worked with me right away. Whatever she could be a part of she was a part of right away,” Ms. Griffith said. “Star loved it.”
Her mom said cheer fits her daughter’s personality perfectly.
Joana Trocan, cheerleading advisor, agreed, saying she learned the dance moves without a problem.
“There was no difference from the other girls,” Ms. Trocan said. “It makes me proud we all embraced her and we kinda watch out for her. They befriended her.”
The other cheerleaders said Star is a positive influence on the team.
“Star brings lots of energy to our team and inspires me to dance,”said Arshia Smith, senior cheerleader. “Anytime we are dancing, she comes around me and starts dancing.”
Star said her favorite cheer is one that challenges the other team with a punching motion.
“My favorite cheer is sock it,” Star said.
She loves when her cheer mates hype her up. Like at a recent Friday pep-rally when they put her in the cheer circle and chanted, “Go Star, Go Star.”
“I want to be part of nick.com,” Star said about her dreams to be part of the online version of Nickelodeon.
With her outgoing personality and desire to perform it seems like another perfect fit.