COUNTY CONNECTION | Anderson County Cheerleader Shows Importance of Inclusion

12/13/2017 05:35 PM

Tuesday night the Anderson County boy’s basketball team defeated Rockcastle County 83-56. The game was like any other- there were players, coaches, referees, fans and students, and of course, cheerleaders.

One Bearcat cheerleader may stick out. Jerrica Drury is wheelchair bound due to cerebral palsy. You won’t see her in a stunt or tumbling, but she is one of the most important members of Anderson County’s cheerleading squad.

“She’s done more than just cheer down the sidelines. I believe that she’s actually made a difference in some of these girls lives,” Said senior captain Taylor Ferry. “We live in a small town and this kind of thing isn’t something that you see all the time, so I believe that that’s something really good not only for the students in the school, but also for my fellow cheerleaders.”

For Drury, making the squad was an easy feat compared to some of the things she has gone through.

“She had to have a shunt put in, a brain shunt surgery, at two months old and the doctors said she would do basically nothing,” explained Drury’s mother, Jennifer Stephens.

One thing every cheerleader must do: bring a smile any time they step on the floor. According to the team, if Drury is around, that isn’t hard to do.

“You know, any time she comes into the gym or practice for the game she’s always smiling, so I think it kind of piggy-backs off each other. They bring to her life but she brings joy to theirs too,” said Head Coach Chelsea Hartley.

Ferry agreed.

“I think it’s just good for her to be on the sidelines. she really enjoys it and its something that- something really easy for us to do is to cheer with her. That takes nothing out of us, yet it brings so much into her day and that’s something that’s really good for us and good for her.”

Drury summed up putting on that Bearcats cheerleading uniform in one word: “excited”.

The coaches agreed.

“To see Jerrica, I think, the first time and go through our uniform closet and then get her to try on uniforms, that was the- that was like the icing on the cake when she got to put a uniform on and she did not stop smiling and when she got those pom-poms the first time, you just, you can’t beat the look on her face and thats what its all about. You just see the joy and her being with people her age and being a part of a high school team.”

Drury cheered throughout football season, but told Spectrum News basketball is her favorite. Her teammates are hoping she has found her niche in the high school world.

“Hopefully she’ll be just like me, a senior cheering one day,” Ferry said. “Maybe she’ll be captain or co-captain. I believe she can do whatever she wants to do and I believe that’s a really good example for her to set.”

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