After receiving news that she had been accepted into a scholarship program at Stephen F. Austin University, in Nacogdoches, Texas, Saniya Demars was excited.
The honor student and cheerleader got permission to be a part in Rockwall High School’s National Signing Day event. This is where 10 other athletes would be honored for their college commitments.
However, after gathering relatives and friends and preparing her signing table with purple and white balloons, the family received bad news.
They were informed that cheerleaders fall under the Fine Arts Department at Rockwall High School. To add, only athletes can be a part of the athletic signing event. The issue came about after someone complained, and then the athletic director concurred that under their guidelines cheerleaders are not athletes in their athletic department.
Saniya says her invite was taken back on Feb. 1 for the Feb. 7 event. Her relatives state that she was provided a spot in a different section of the school, at a table by herself, 45 minutes following the other students having their event in the school gym.
Rockwall ISD released a statement noting that they have never experienced a cheerleader being offered a spot into a college scholarship program so early. They added that they will have another event in May that will be strictly for the signing of cheerleaders, and they will continue to review their policies.
In Saniya’s offer letter, Stephen F. Austin has thought of her as an athlete. The letter invited her into the institution’s academic and athletic programs.
As a result, Saniya and her relatives hope that Rockwall ISD will later see that, as well.