School For The Deaf Cheer Team Makes History & Emerges Champions At Competition

May 29, 2023 by apost team

Some keys to success include hard work, consistency, and zeal, but the possibility of attaining success becomes even more daunting when faced with extra challenges. Despite this phenomenon, the Iowa School for the Deaf (ISD) cheerleading team stayed focused and undiscouraged as they emerged as the winners at the 34th annual Great Plains Schools of the Deaf Conference. All the cheerleading team of four needed was their pure passion and the feel of the beat.    

Before making history and winning the trophy for their alma mater on Feb. 4, 2023, Kalista Nipper, Brittany Adame, Ashley Vera-Nieto, and Rifenta Kisichy worked hard to perfect their cadence when it came to following drum beats. While Adame and Nipper were seniors, Vera-Nieto was a sophomore, and Kisicy was a freshman. However, the team came together to put their expertise to optimum use to attain a common goal.

The girls were able to master their crafts and routines with the help of their coaches, Megan Shama and Renca Dunn. They held up signs that said "defense."

Dunn revealed to GMA that they used large drums shared among the other Great Plains competitors. She relayed that the drum beats were an "essential part of our Deaf culture." The cheer coach proudly explained how her girls made history. Dunn explained that the cheerleaders could carry out their routine by feeling the rhythms of the drums. She explained further:

"That rhythm … helps them to articulate their form, remember the chants and the cheers based on the beat that they feel from the drum is critical. It's vital for our team."

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Adame joined the conversation, revealing how she felt about making history at her school. Speaking on her favorite part of being a cheerleader, the youngster noted how she got to dance. She explained how euphoric it felt to follow the movement and feel the music through the beat. Kisichy recalled the singular most precious moment when the winning team was announced. She relayed:

"When we were told that we got first place, it was a rush of emotions. I actually teared up. It was so exciting."

Nipper also expressed her feelings, noting that she did not believe they would ace the top spot. She relayed that they knew they would give their all when performing, but it was a shock when they were announced as the winners. 

Nipper added that they would all remember that moment for the rest of their lives. In an interview with Des Moines Register, the girls reflected on their big win and what it took to get there. They practiced for two weeks, even though their routine took a few minutes to perform. 

Kisichy revealed to the publication that she had never cheered before joining the team but had to get in tune quickly. Vera-Nieto also revealed that she had to shake off inhibitions to perform a new routine: the basketball toss. She recalled being reluctant to try the pattern, but the girls encouraged her to be confident. 

The cheerleading pros relayed that they hoped their exceptional victory would inspire others to join the team. Kalista stated that trying may be scary, but it was a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity. She relayed that with potential, anything could happen.

Isn't it awe-inspiring that the ISD cheerleading team claimed victory despite the odds against them? Do you know anyone forging ahead while living with a disability? Let us know, and be sure to pass this motivating piece on to others. 

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