I want to take this opportunity to nominate Emily Ruzic.
I helped start special needs cheerleading at Kentucky Elite in Lexington, KY in 2001. When I moved to Birmingham, AL in 2003, the gym where my daughter was cheering on a senior team, ACE, wanted to start a special needs team also.
Lois Ann Murphree and I started the team, but we needed additional “helpers” to make the team really work. We got one volunteer, Emily Ruzic, who was a freshman at Mountain Brook. Over the next 4 years, Emily became an instrumental part of the team as we grew from 4 members to 14 members. Our athletes suffered from autism, severe learning disabilities, and down syndrome, but Emily worked closely with each and every one of them.
Over 4 years, she donated hundreds of hours to help the team at practices and competitions. In addition to just being a great “big sister” to all the athletes, she was also our primary choreographer and designed most of our routines.
Then in 2007, she graduated and moved to Athens, GA to attend the University of Georgia. However, she didn’t let the move stop her. She was able to find a team in Georgia, Force Cheerleading, and volunteered her time with them. In addition to volunteering with them, she also made sure to visit us at the competitions that ACE attended and continued to help.
Finally, she has visited us every summer while she is home from college and continued to bring her expertise and joy to our squad.
I cannot say enough about Emily Ruzic and highly recommend her.
ACE Cheer Company
Bows & Arrows Coach
Chairman, USASF Parent Action Committee
Vice Chairman, USASF Special Needs Committee
3820 Ridgeway Drive
Birmingham, AL 35209
(205)994-4070 cell phone