December 2nd, 2011

Elementary Excellence: Pitt Academy

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer


Elementary Excellence: Pitt Academy
photo from Pitt Academy

Cheerleaders embark on national competition

The following feature is a part of a weekly series called "Elementary Excellence" - a set of profiles that will spotlight Louisville area Catholic elementary schools and its athletic programs, teams, traditions and excellence in all aspects of sports. Do you want your school to be featured? Send us your recommendation to editor@catholicsportsnet.com.

Pitt Academy, located on Preston Highway, is a school serving students kindergarten through 12th grade with specialized needs. Michelle Rogers, who is a teacher at the school, started a cheerleading program there four years ago. She says she is thrilled with the progress of the program, and she is excited about a new challenge this upcoming year.

“We are going for the first time ever to the CHEERSPORT Cheerleading and Dance Championship this February,” said Rogers. “We were invited last year after winning at regionals.”

Rogers, who coaches nine girls ages 12-17, says this competition will test the girls in a positive way like never before. In fact, she calls the competition a “once in a lifetime opportunity.”

“The competition will have over 950 teams. We were invited as one of 20 Special Olympic Teams to compete,” said Rogers. “When we originally were invited, I wondered if we could raise the money and deal with various health related concerns during travel. The girls would say, ‘Please, please, can we go?’ And so, we collectively decided, it’s a go.”

 “It’s a reward to coach these girls,” said Rogers. “They had different struggles and disabilities, but they give me 110 percent. Even after a long day at school, these girls work so hard.”

Rogers, along with her daughter, coach the Pitt Academy Squad. Rogers says the determination within the team is unmatched.

“These girls amaze me. I’ve been involved in cheerleading for 16 years with various squads,” said Rogers. “This team altogether just shows such positive attitudes, and the girls see themselves as winners. There are days when I think I’m exhausted coming into practice, but how can I be exhausted when I see them so ready?”

As Rogers continues to work with her girls to get ready for the February 17-19 National Competition in Atlanta, Georgia, she reflects on the obstacles her team overcomes day to day to prepare for victory.

“The girls battle with various circumstances. We have girls that deal with being handicapped and physical issues to dyslexia and academic struggles,” said Rogers. “But the first thing I told my daughter when she started coaching and something important to know is that you see the girl first, not the disability. We set goals, and we reach for the stars.”

Rogers, who encourages her girls on the mat and in life, says the invite to this upcoming competition is an event that brings the girls together.

And, she says, cheering, as well as national competition, can teach life lessons.

Said Rogers: “I tell them, if you don’t have to work for it in life, it’s probably not worth it. I get emotional when I say this, but I tell them, you can do anything in life you want to do. If you want to do something, go get it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because you can’t walk, because you read differently than someone else, or you speak differently. In life, you will be faced with things that are hard. If it’s worth having, it will be tough to get it. Our motto is to have fun with it. I’m proud of them no matter what.”

 

Donate: If you would like to help donate to the travel fund for the trip, you may send donations to the school earmarked “Cheer”.

 

 

 

 

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