Disability doesn’t define character

Senior Trinity Stouffer cheers at a home basketball game. This was the finale to Stouffer’s high school cheerleading career.

Kasey Stallbaum

Hey ey, Hey ey, You, Hey you, Hey you, Hey you! Hey ey, Hey ey, You, Hey you, Hey you, Hey you! We got the power to, we got the power to, we got the power to-Whoop you!

Pom-pom shaking, leg kicking, and spirit yelling are all things seen on the sidelines of favorite sporting events. For senior Trinity Stouffer, to land a spot on the cheerleading team was a life-changing experience.

Along with cheerleading, Trinity also takes part in the Special Education program. She has Down syndrome, which is a congenital disorder arising from a chromosome defect, but Trinity has never let her disability hold her back from going after what she wants.

At the end of her freshman year, Trinity tried out for the DCHS Cheer Squad and landed a spot on the team.

“I wanted to go out for cheer because I wanted to be involved and have fun with my friends,” Trinity said.

Once she received the news of making the team, Trinity said she was really excited, but nervous. Within the past three years of participating in cheer, she said the nerves have eased down and Trinity now enjoys going out and having everyone watch her.

“Trinity is a reliable person, and I can always count on her to be at all the games and practices,” Cheer Coach Tiffany Heins said. “She has really improved over the years, and she has always pushed through and gotten better. She also brings a fun, positive attitude to the team and can always make us laugh.”

This year Trinity has been able to share her love for cheer with her best friend, senior Morgan Hoeft, who made the team last spring.

“We have a sister-like relationship, and I can tell her anything,” Hoeft said. “I like being on the squad with her and being able to help and teach her even more things. She is fun to be around both on the team and when it is just us.”

Trinity also attends classes at Center 7 in Columbus. From counting money to reading signs, the Center 7 program teaches students with disabilities life skills they will need when living on their own; they also take students out to job sites in order to get them involved and to help in the community.

Other than cheer and school work, Trinity is also involved in Choir. Outside of school she likes to workout at the David City Wellness Center. At a younger age, Trinity was involved in Desiree’s Dancers and soccer.

“We have always tried to get Trinity involved and give her different opportunities to try new things,” Trinity’s mom, Justine Stouffer said.

After graduation, Trinity will continue to attend classes at Center 7 and will be able to take part in a few life skills classes at Central Community College in Columbus. Trinity said her overall goal is to be able to live on her own and have her own family.

“My dream is to be just like my mom,” Trinity said. “She has her own daycare, and I help her with the kids by doing snacks and naps. I also play with them and teach them cheers, and I want to do that on my own one day.”