February 14, 2019
C of O Bobcat Cheer Team partners with Champions Committed to Kids
Guest cheer team member Aaliyah Delgado to perform at last home game
POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — College of the Ozarks Bobcat Cheer team has partnered with Springfield-based charity Champions Committed to Kids for the 2018-2019 season. As part of this new adventure, the squad added its newest member, 6-year-old Aaliyah Delgado of Branson, during the fall of 2018.
Delgado was born with a spinal abnormality known as kyphosis. This condition puts pressure on the spinal cord limiting the mobility of the lower limbs. Despite her medical struggles, Delgado remains as active, if not more active, than other children her age. Outside of being a cheer team member, Delgado attends dance classes and participates in recreational sports throughout the year.
Champions Committed to Kids is an organization based in Springfield, Missouri which strives to develop champions by creating a special bond between children with medical conditions and/or disabilities with local athletic teams. Both athlete and child learn from and inspire each other, creating a greater feeling of purpose that impacts the community and develops future leaders. The child has the chance to be a part of a sports team, and in return, the athletes discover the benefits of helping others.
The cheer team will perform their last routine of the season at half-time of the men’s basketball game on Feb. 16, 2019, at Point Lookout, Missouri. Aaliyah will participate in the performance of the routine that evening. This will be a special evening for all the athletes, as it is Parent’s Night. This night of recognition serves to honor the athletes and their parents for their commitment to the College and their sport, as well as celebrate the graduating seniors.
Outside the comfort zone
Each year the Cheer team makes it a priority to reach out to the community through volunteer opportunities. Throughout the team’s regular season, the athletes participate in numerous charitable activities, including packaging shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child and assisting the men’s basketball team in a workshop partnering with Champion Athletes of the Ozarks, an organization serving children and adults with disabilities living in the Ozarks area.
“Aaliyah has shown me how to live life fully by embracing the gifts God has given me, no matter the circumstance, and step out of my comfort zone to do what makes me happy,” said Allison Steuck, cheerleader and senior early childhood elementary education major.
Aaliyah was officially introduced as a Bobcat Cheer Team member during half-time of the C of O vs. John Brown University game on Nov. 26, 2018. Since her introduction, Aaliyah attends team practices and cheers alongside her fellow team members during men’s and women’s home basketball games.
“When I told the team about Aaliyah joining us, they were ecstatic,” said Layne Wilks, cheer team coach. “These athletes have such big hearts and they were so excited to share their joy and enthusiasm with Aaliyah.”
Making a difference
During games, Delgado can be found on the sidelines calling chants and cheers with her teammates, as well as joining the squad in crowd encouragement by passing out souvenir basketballs and frisbees during timeouts.
“Aaliyah reminds me so much of my own sister,” said Madlyn Koehler, cheerleader and sophomore allied health science interdisciplinary major. “Knowing that I get to pour into her life is very humbling. She reminds me that everyone is looking to us as examples, and we must rise up to make a difference. A lot of people have been telling me that we are changing her life, but she’s changing ours.”
When asked about her favorite part of cheering, Aaliyah said her “sparkly pom-poms” and “cheering on the sidelines with my fellow cheerleaders.”
“I think it’s really good for her because it allows her to socialize, but it gets other people comfortable with disabilities,” Tahlia Delgado, Aaliyah’s mother said. “So, get the word out. Let people know that we are all people, and we all want to have fun.”
“We always say that cheerleading is simply a platform to show Christ to others, and anything we can do to promote that is a true joy,” Wilks said.
For additional information, contact Public Relations Director Valorie Coleman at (417) 690-2212.
About College of the Ozarks
College of the Ozarks is a private, Christian, liberal arts college, located in Point Lookout, Missouri, on a 1,000-acre campus. Christian values, hard work, and financial responsibility comprise the fundamental building blocks of the “Hard Work U.” experience. The College earns numerous accolades yearly, including No. 1 Most Innovative School in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report for 2019 and No. 1 Best Bang for the Buck by Washington Monthly. To achieve its vision, the College pursues academic, vocational, Christian, patriotic, and cultural goals. These goals are mirrored in School of the Ozarks, a laboratory school that completes the K-college model.
The Keeter Center — the College’s award winning lodge, restaurant, and conference facility — was ranked a Top Small Hotel in the U.S. by TripAdvisor for 2018. It features historic lodging, fine dining, and meeting rooms. With more than 350 student workers, it is the largest workstation on campus. Follow College of the Ozarks at www.facebook.com/collegeoftheozarks or on Twitter @CofOHardWorkU.
02.14.19 – Racheal Carlyon