(KLFY) — This basketball season you will see a new smiling face on the sidelines cheering for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Cajuns.
24-year-old Melanie Jankowers always dreamed of becoming a Ragin’ Cajun cheerleader. This season, her wish came true.
The cheer squad welcomed Jankowers with open arms as part of the “Learning Is For Everyone” program at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The program provides academic and social opportunities at the college level for young adults with special needs.
Graduate assistant coach Courtney Begnaud said Melanie is always smiling.
“No matter how the the game is going, no matter how tired she is, she always has that big Ragin Cajun smile. She definitely has a lot of life and spirit that she’s brought to us”
Melanie’s mother, Laura, is a die hard Cajuns fan and is absolutely tickled to see her daughter sporting vermilion and white.
“I am just thrilled to death. They’ve taken her by the hand and she’s the center of attention,” Laura said.
Melanie practices with the squad and knows every dance and cheer. Her favorite? The fight song: ‘Fight On, Cajuns.’
Melanie isn’t done dreaming yet, either.
“She wants to be a librarian.”
With a pair of pom poms and a big red hair bow, Melanie’s joie de vivre is contagious.
“She really does put a smile on every person’s face that she encounters. She brings life to this team.”