Corissa Anderson

Corissa Anderson (center) on the field at Ravens Stadium as River Hill wins its fourth state football crown. (Photo courtesy of Chris Anderson / December 18, 2012)

Under the bright lights of M&T Bank Stadium, River Hill cheerleader Corissa Anderson got to celebrate a magical birthday.

Anderson, who has Down syndrome, saw her wish of cheering on the field at Ravens Stadium come true. The Hawks earned the school’s fourth state football title on Nov. 29 with an 18-14 victory over Huntingtown, and Anderson was front and center to help push them to victory.

An honorary cheerleader for River Hill the past three years, Anderson was able to stand on the same field that members of her favorite professional football team plays on Sunday afternoons.

“She is very social and feeds off the excitement of the crowds,” said her father, Chris. “Being included in this way has also helped her feel more a part of her school and community, which is often the biggest challenge for individuals like Corissa who have special needs such as Down Syndrome.”

Corissa really enjoyed the bus ride from Clarksville to downtown Baltimore with the other cheerleaders, football players and band members. The team on her bus sang happy birthday and had cupcakes prior to the start of the game. 

Anderson has been cheering since elementary school for the Columbia Ravens youth team and currently cheers for the Unique All-Stars Unified team. She works out daily with her father, mother Janet and sister Jenelle. 

“Everyone has been very supportive and Corissa is very grateful to everyone at River Hill and in the community, since she loves to perform, cheer and motivate people,” Chris said. “Corissa hopes to one day work as a special education assistant helping and inspiring other kids with special needs.”