Cheer ‘flips out’ for SOMO


photo credits Elizabeth Dively

OHS cheerleaders and the SOMO Shine cheer team take a picture together to remember the day.

OHS cheerleaders help sponsor many different camps throughout the season, but Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO) Shine cheerleading practices hold a special place in many cheerleader’s hearts. 

The SOMO Shine cheer team is a Special Olympics team comprised of girls from the ages of 7 to 35 with varying abilities. The team practices with volunteers from the OHS cheer team. The girls teach them a pom routine, a chant and a cheer that the SOMO Shine team uses throughout the cheer season. All of the girls from OHS take time out of the week to volunteer and help out with the practices.

“I think the girls love it,” said Varsity Cheer Coach Becky Bruning. “I think a big part of cheer is not just being on the sidelines of games, but being ambassadors of the school and also active members of the community.” 

The volunteers from OHS include girls from all levels of cheer to provide help for the clinics and help teach the Shine team. Not only do the two teams practice together, but they will also perform together at games. 

“I have been helping with the SOMO Shine clinics for about two years,” said varsity cheerleader Emma Lutker (11). “I love seeing the joy it brings to the cheerleaders when we perform together.” 

OHS cheer has been helping with SOMO Shine practices for five consecutive years and continues to help out.

“I think the greatest part is when the cheerleaders remember each other,” said Bruning. “Seeing them come back and remembering the cheerleaders that they have grown up with and getting excited to see them every year is really amazing.” 

Not only are these practices important to the OHS cheerleaders, they also mean a lot to the Shine cheerleaders as well. 

“I like being able to meet other girls and get to know them,” said Emily Dively, a member of the SOMO Shine team, “It gives all of us an opportunity to shine.” 

The two cheer teams will practice together again on Jan. 12. They will perform together at the OHS girl’s basketball game against Parkway West which will be hosted at OHS on Jan. 24.