New Unified Cheer program

Starting new things


Photo by Ali Bragg

ACP students cheering at a varsity football game

Maleah Arellano, Staff Reporter

This year, Unified cheer is finally starting its season after months of practice. This program is where Alternative Curriculum Program (ACP) students can be involved in cheerleading and compete against other Unified cheer teams.

This year Millard West has allowed us to start a new program Unified cheer. Other schools such as Millard North and South have done this for years, and coach Ali Bragg finally made it happen.

The other two Millard schools have been doing it for years and I have wanted to start one at West for a while now, but could never get it started for various reasons,” Bragg said. “Mrs. Schwalbach graduated from West and did cheer, she also came from North where she coached Unified Cheer. She was the perfect person to help me get it going. I could not have done it without her help and I am so glad we got it going because it is so much fun. One of the best parts of my day.”

This year Bragg is excited to have this activity going here at Millard West finally. Their practices run after school on Wednesdays for 45 minutes and will be competing their sideline routine for judges to see. They have been working super hard and are having fun as well at practice. 

 “We are a team and many friendships have been made between our athletes and partners,” Bragg said. 

 This program is already building relationships and is fun for the people involved. Sophomore Leah Young also is thrilled about being involved in this program and loves helping out with Unified cheer as she is currently a varsity cheerleader. 

“Unified Cheer has helped me grow close connections with people I never thought I would talk to and they make me laugh all the time,” Young said. “Being involved, I help make sure they are all doing the correct things and teach them the words. I also make sure they are having fun with them while practicing.”  

Unified Cheer is a competitive program and they will be attending their first competition on Jan. 21. at Ralston High School.

 “The routine is coming together more and more every practice and we are almost state ready,” Young said.

“We both decided to help with coaching unified cheer at the beginning of the school year,” Coach Schwalbach said. “We reached out to the cheerleading teams to see if there would be interest in cheerleaders joining our unified team. We also put information in the announcements before our first practice. We had around 15 partners and six athletes interested. We worked with the cheer coaches to coordinate a varsity football and a varsity basketball game we would cheer at. We also are performing at three competitions/showcases, including the State cheer and dance competition in Grand Island in February.”

Schwalbach talked about information on how she and Bragg started this program here at school. She used to coach the Millard North Unified cheer team so she has the experience and helped Bragg.

 “I’ve really enjoyed being a part of bringing Unified Cheer to Millard West,” Schwalbach said. “I used to cheer here when I was in high school, so it’s been really fun to combine a sport I used to participate in and involve our special education students.”

This new program started at West has had significant effects on students all around school and has put a smile on all the athlete’s faces. ACP students can be involved in many activities with other athletes helping them feel involved and have fun times while doing so. They will be showcasing their first performance on Jan. 21. At Ralston High School.