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Three Cheers for Massapequa’s Challenger Squad


A performance for a packed house was a shining moment for students on the Massapequa School District’s Challenger cheerleading team. The team was chosen to showcase their routine at a recent Nassau County cheerleading competition.

Ed Hoffman, the physical education chairman and athletic coordinator at Berner Middle School, said that this was a new opportunity for the Challenger cheerleading squad, which normally cheers at Challenger basketball games. The team is comprised of students from grades 6-12, led by coaches Dr. Lauren Dean and Kathleen Wegener.

Mr. Hoffman said he reached out to the Nassau County public school cheerleading coordinator, who enthusiastically gave the green light for Massapequa’s squad to perform in between the middle school and high school portions of the Jan. 7 competition at Wantagh High School. With middle school and high school squads in the building, as well as coaches and families, they performed for a sizable crowd.

“It was awesome,” Mr. Hoffman said. “The students had a great time. They were able to perform for a much larger audience, surrounded by people from different towns and high schools, which made it very special.”

Students from the Best Buddies club, which has chapters at Berner, Ames and the high school, worked with cheerleaders to help practice their routine, and also attended the Jan. 7 performance to show their support.

Mr. Hoffman, the Nassau County coordinator for the Challenge sports league, said that there is a soccer program in the fall, along with basketball and cheerleading in the winter season. This coming spring, a track and field program will be added.

“There’s something special about being part of a team within your school,” he said, “and that’s what Challenger sports provides our students.”

Their next performance will be at a cheerleading competition at Massapequa High School on Jan. 21.