Special students give Riverside cheer squad extra spirit

Special students give Riverside cheer squad extra spirit

The Riverside High School cheer squad is a special team because of two young boys, Dominic Grizzle and Matthew Samuels.

If you are at a Riverside High School football game, you may notice

the two special boys revving up the crowd.

Dominic just started cheering for the squad this year and Matthew has been on the squad for two years.

“Matthew loves his pom poms,” laughs Riverside High School cheer coach, Avori Watt. ” When Dominic dances, it’s the greatest.”

” I’ve never seen something so awesome in my life,” says Nina Desroches, Riverside High School cheer coach.

Each of the boy’s parents knew their high energy was enough to be on the cheer squad, so they asked if they could be on the team.

“Of course I said yes!” says Watt.

“He is so enthusiastic and always wanting everyone to be smiling. It fits him perfectly to be on cheer squad. He just wants to see people pumped up,” says Dominic’s father, Jason Grizzle.

“We call them the cheerleader’s cheerleader because they are always cheering on the cheerleaders,” says Watt.

Outside of the squad, the boy’s lives haven’t always been so cheery.

Sixteen-year-old Grizzle was born with a growing deficiency. Twenty-year-old Samuels was born with down syndrome. When he was thirteen-years-old, he broke his neck-leaving him immobile from the neck down for several months. Thanks to rehab and hard work, he is high kicking along side Grizzle.

“Gosh, that is such a blessing. He could have lost his life or been a vegetable his whole life but instead he’s running and jumping and with the cheerleaders,” says Samules’ mother, Lisa Nelson.

“I like how patient and accepting everybody is,” says Grizzle.

It’s a special team where they belong and where they truly shine.

“They’re definitely an inspiration to our team. It’s exciting to see and funny to watch and overall really cute. They add spirit for sure!” says Taryn Cale, Riverside High School cheerleader.

Their parents say they hope their son’s stories inspire more kids with special needs to try out.