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Area youths participate in 'Cheering for Children'

November 10, 2007|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Cheerleading isn't just for football anymore.

Seven teams from across Franklin County proved Saturday that it also could be used to raise money for various charities.

A traditional cheerleading competition, "Cheering for Children," was held at Chambersburg Area Senior High School to raise funds for children's charities and for the high school's Echo yearbook. It was sponsored by the yearbook staff and the Keystone Youth Football League.

"The event was inspired by a former student (of mine) who graduated from Fairfield High School," said Sandy Traynor, one of the advisers for the Echo yearbook. "She put on an event like this for her senior project where she raised funds for the Make-A-Wish foundation for a Fairfield student with cancer."

At the forefront of the children's charities sponsored by the competition was the Drew Michael Taylor Foundation. The foundation will receive the bulk of the money raised through the competition.

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After losing their son Drew, 3 , in 2006 in an auto accident, Marcie Taylor, a Spanish teacher at Chambersburg Area Senior High School, and her husband, Randy, started the foundation.

"It was a very unfortunate accident that hits close to home," Traynor said.

"We have created different awards with the overall goal of making a positive impact on children," Marcie Taylor said about the foundation. "The more money we make, the more programs for kids we can support."

Funds were raised through the sale of tickets, food, T-shirts and flowers, and through donations. Additionally, each cheerleading team sponsored one of five charities - Drew Michael Taylor Foundation, Make-A-Wish Foundation, T.A.P.S. (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors), Cumberland Valley Breast Care Alliance and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

There were three groups of cheerleading teams - junior varsity (ages 7 and 8), mid-varsity (ages 9 and 10) and varsity (ages 11 to 13) - and each group competed for first place, second place, third place and runner-up.

"I think it's wonderful," said Leanne Nolan, one of the coaches of the Quincy Panthers mid-varsity cheerleading team. "The girls love it - they aren't just cheering for football, they can compete themselves."

First-place winners (one from each age group) received $100 for their charity. Second-place winners received $75, third-place winners received $50 and all other participants received $25.

"We're hoping to raise at least $5,000," Traynor said.

The money left over after giving to all of the charities will go to the Echo yearbook, a self-sustaining organization.

"We wanted to do something that was for more than just the yearbook," said Kyle Roger, a senior at Chambersburg Area Senior High School and editor of the Echo yearbook. "We've been working hard six months - today just turned out awesome."

Traynor said 285 children participated in the competition and 500 to 600 people were expected to attend.

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