Los Angeles

Teen With Down Syndrome Makes High School Cheer Squad

Isabella Martinez had a dream of being a cheerleader, and she wouldn't let anything stop her. Not even down syndrome.

Isabella Martinez is a 15-year-old cheerleader at John F. Kennedy High School in Los Angeles. She's usually visible on the sidelines with a huge smile on her face, cheering, dancing, and getting hugs from the football players.

In most ways, Martinez is just like any other teenage cheerleader on her squad. She also has down syndrome. 

The inclusivity of  John F. Kennedy High School's cheer squad brings great pride to everyone involved.

"We have girls that have learning disabilities, we have students that have physical challenges, as well as daily challenges of growing up and being a teenager," says Elizabeth Ortiz, the school's cheer advisor.

In fact, the diverse team is composed of both girls and boys. Boasting a big smile full of joy is the quality Ortiz puts at the top of the pyramid. 

And big smiles are something Martinez has no shortage of.

Down Syndrome Awareness month falls annually during the month of October. you can find out more about it here.

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