Cheerleading squad caters to special needs teens

By Samantha Ptashkin - Reporter

SPRING, Texas - Making the cheerleading squad is a dream for many young girls and now an athletic organization in Spring is making that dream come true for some very special tumblers.

Spring Creek Athletics teaches children how to cheer, dance and tumble. One of its teams is called the "Spinning Stars."  All 22 members, ranging in ages 6 to 28, have special needs. 

"The team is a group of wonderful kids," said coach Katherine Anding. "We have mostly kids with Down syndrome, autism and some physical special needs."

One squad member is Sienna Bernal, of Tomball. The 15-year-old is a primordial dwarf, who stands at 4 feet 3 inches tall and weighs just 50 pounds. 

But Sienna is proud of her small stature, something her twin sister, Sierra Bernal, credits to being a member of the Spinning Stars. 

"She used to notice that she was smaller and it irritates people," Sierra said. "People say, 'Oh, I'm too skinny or oh, I'm too tall,' but in here it doesn't matter."

The team practices once a week for about an hour and a half. They compete against other special needs squads five to six times a year. 

"I think it's pretty good because they teach you how to balance and you get courage to do more things," Sienna said.

And even though performing can get a little nerve-racking, Sienna said it teaches the squad a valuable lesson.  "Don't give up and keep on going," Sienna said. "If you fall, get back up and do it again!"

The Spring Creek Athletics Booster Club is trying to raise money to provide more equipment for the Spinning Stars. To find out how you can help, call 281-255-5557 or email

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