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      Mexico community cheers on cheerleader

      The Mexico, Missouri, community is rallying behind Kelsay Hobbs, a senior student with Down syndrome who is also a cheerleader at Mexico High School.

      Kelsay's mom, Carolyn, said Kelsay has always wanted to be a cheerleader. Last year, she was given the opportunity to cheer at one game.

      "They had six girls that had special needs that were out there cheering so that was what I thought was going the end of it," Hobbs said.

      "But the coach said that if she got the high school coaching job, she wanted Kelsay on her team."

      So coach Linda Malott gave Kelsay a spot on the team.

      "She makes us smile every day," Malott said.

      "If we have a bad day, we come in here and she just brightens everyones' spirits and day. We love her so much."

      "Everytime she does something and she gets excited it just makes me feel really good. And it's just a joy to have her," Alyssa Hooton, a senior on the cheerleading squad, said.

      "And it's a really great experience because she loves cheering in front of people," Misty Bolton, also a senior cheerleader, said.

      At a pep rally Friday afternoon in the high school's gym, students packing the bleachers cheered loudly as Kelsay was lifted high into the air.

      "It just warms my heart that this school thinks of our special needs [students] as part of our family, and they look out for them and care for them," Malott said.

      "We have an amazing school and it just shows you what our district's all about."

      "There is amazing not only staff support but peer support here at Mexico High School. It's awesome," Hobbs said.