Norwin student seeks exception to be on cheering squad

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The mother of a Norwin High School senior said a decision by the district to exclude her son from the cheerleading squad could cost him a partial scholarship for college.

Jackie Beegle of North Huntingdon addressed the Norwin school board Monday. She said her son, Travis Troya, had gone through tryouts for Norwin cheerleaders in the spring and officials said his scores were high enough to make the squad. But then Travis was accepted by the California Coed AllStar Team competitive cheerleaders and traveled to Ventura, Calif., in early June to practice with them.

Travis had signed up to take his senior classes through the Norwin School District cyber charter school during the 2013-14 school year. In April 2014, he planned to return to go to the prom and graduate with his classmates.

However, he tore the meniscus in his knee in mid-August, ending his time with the California group and returned home. He now attends the high school.

In a letter from superintendent William Kerr, Mr. Kerr concurred with Norwin athletic director Brandon Rapp and high school principal Timothy Kotch Sr. that Travis didn't meet qualifications to be on the high school squad because he didn't attend Norwin cheerleading summer camp and did not attend all required practices.

Although that is true, Ms. Beegle said, the district has not applied the rules equally to all cheerleaders. For instance, one of the freshman cheerleaders did not attend summer camp, yet she is being allowed to participate in cheerleading, Ms. Beegle said.

Ms. Beegle said being on the Norwin cheerleading squad his senior year could increase her son's chances of making the cheerleading squad at Penn State University, where a partial scholarship for making the squad could pay for some of his expenses, including books. He hopes to attend either Penn State or UCLA for engineering.

In response to the school board's request Monday, Ms. Beegle said she is collecting information for the board on the incidents in which rules were bent for members of the cheerleading squad.

She said her family has consulted an attorney.

Anne Cloonan, freelance writer:

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