An honorary Bledsoe County Middle School cheerleader is one who inspires both on and off the court. Taylor Lockhart wears her uniform proudly, and people say her smile lights up the room. But she faces challenges many others don't.
Taylor, a sixth grader, has a developmental disability that kept her from trying out for the cheerleading team. But last week, the cheerleading team decided to make room for one more. On Tuesday night, Taylor was able to join the squad on the sidelines.
"It's my dream come true," said Taylor, who was born with a chromosome disorder that causes delays in her development.
"Taylor had actually mentioned to me that she would love to be a cheerleader," said cheer coach, Wendy Rogers. "I thought, you know, why not? Why not give her this opportunity that she may never have again?"
"She picks up cheers really easy. She's really funny and sweet to everybody," said cheerleader Karson Daggett.
"I go to her house a lot, and she comes to mine. I help her, teach her cheers and help her do stuff to make her better," said Taylor's neighbor and cheerleader Brittany Miller.
"There's not very much that holds Taylor back," said Taylor's mother, Leslie.
She says she's thankful that the girls make her daughter feel like a part of the team.
"As a parent, it feels really good that your daughter is accepted, no matter what her disabilities are, or what her shortcomings are, or her fears," Leslie said. "It just makes you feel really good that she's so welcomed."
For Taylor, it's more than getting to wear a uniform. She knows she has made friendships that will lasts longer than the cheerleading season.
"I love my friends!" she exclaimed.