When one Iowa high school football team takes to the field they have twice the cheering power. That’s because the school’s varsity cheerleaders are joined by the Spartan Sparkles, a sister cheer squad made up of girls with Down syndrome, autism and other special needs.

The squad is the brainchild of Sarah Cronk and Sarah Herr, two cheerleaders at the school who were inspired after attending a Special Olympics event. For more than a year now, the Spartan Sparkles and the varsity cheer squad have practiced together twice a week. They also perform at each Pleasant Valley High School game in Bettendorf, Iowa.

While the varsity girls expected to help the special needs squad members learn the routines, they never anticipated how much they would gain in return. They say they’ve learned about confidence and perseverance while realizing how much ability the girls with special needs have behind the disabilities most people see.

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Now, organizers are hoping to replicate the Spartan Sparkles program at other schools, reports ABC News. To read more click here.