Texas Cheer Squads to Support Iraan Friday in Abilene

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Since the deadly bus crash Friday night, cheer squads across Texas are coming together to support the Braves. 
 
Some are even making the trip to Abilene on Friday night to cheer for another school. 
 
Among them are Abilene Coopers High School, Abilene High School, Christoval High School and even squads from Arlington plan to make the trip.  just to name a few. 
 
 
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When you think of a cheerleader you think of someone who whole heartedly supports their team. But in the face of tragedy, Texas cheerleaders are proving that they support anyone in need.
 
“It means supporting your team no matter what and it means whenever someone else is hurting you need to come in and love them and support them as well,” said AHS cheerleader Jaxon Shultz.
 
After a bus crash that killed Iraan’s cheer sponsor and injured seven other passengers, Abilene and Cooper High cheerleaders are coming together to support the Iraan squad.
 
“I realized their coach passed away, they have girls that are actually seriously hurt and so I started reaching out to surrounding cheerleaders like Anson, Jim Ned, Clyde… places like that to have them come and join us so we can cheer together to support these three little cheerleaders that are going to be down there,” said AHS cheerleader Katie Cadjew.
 
And cheer is what these lone star state squads are going to do.
 
“There are 50 cheer teams coming to the game Friday night,” said Cadjew.
 
Why are these girls reaching out to strangers that are also rivals on the field?
 
“It really hit home because it could happen to any of us at any time,” said CHS cheerleader Jenna Shultz.
 
And since squads from all over the state are coming to Abilene, the Abilene High squad is making sure their fellow cheerleaders are taken care of.
 
“We’ve reserved the round building at five for all the cheerleaders coming in from across the state of Texas to have a free meal before the game,” said Cadjew.
 
Being to cheer means to cheer on anyone in need.
 
“I’m so sad for that team and what they’re going through and my heart was just too heavy to not do anything about it and to not join in,” said Cadjew.
 
 
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A number of  Concho Valley high schools — and others across West Texas are holding prayer vigils this week, including the students and staff at Christoval ISD.
 
“Life isn’t planned and when things happen in communities, you lean on other people to help you out and that’s what we’re doing, we’re helping them out because we know that they need it,” says Christoval High Cheer Captain, Taylea Hogan.
 
Last Friday the Iraan Braves football team took on another win in Colorado City — a step toward the state championship.
 
“We’ve played Iraan in the past and they’ve beaten us pretty well,” says Christoval High School Principal, John Choate.
 
Later Friday evening traveling on Interstate 20 on the way home —  the bus carrying six of the Iraan school cheerleaders  — was hit head on by an 18-wheeler that crossed the median.
 
The junior high cheerleading sponsor Liz Pope died — the driver and six cheerleaders were taken to nearby hospitals.
 
The collision made national news headlines and surfaced quickly on social media — generating the hashtag Pray for Irraan.
 
“We have great kids here in Christoval and through social media most of our kids know many kids in Iraan,” says Choate.
 
Monday, Christoval students wore red and black to support the Iraan Braves.
 
“We’re not always competitors, we need to be good sports and help other teams, cheer them on as well, just like we cheer on our own team,” says 8th grade cheerleader, Susannah Mann.
 
“It could’ve happened to anyone,” says senior student, Madison Hans.
 
“So, just giving them our support and all the surrounding communities support, it really warms your heart and makes me really happy.”
 
“I think showing our support makes us stronger as a community and it just brings everyone together. It shows who we are and it shows our colors,” says senior student, Brooke Atkins.
 
Across the state, high schools are offering to send their cheerleaders to Abilene to help cheer on the Iraan Braves at the state semifinals game Friday.
 
“On Friday night, we of course love the Cougars, but we’re going to be Braves and support them,” says Hans.

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