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Savannah's Spirit: Teen becomes first Vilonia band majorette with special needs

Savannah Ferrin's path toward becoming a majorette in the Vilonia Middle School band began when she was in first grade.

VILONIA, Ark. (KTHV) - There are so many sounds at high school football games – the roar of the crowd, the cheerleaders and, of course, the marching band. But sometimes, there's more to the sights and sounds than meets the eye.

Savannah Ferrin's path toward becoming a majorette in the Vilonia Middle School band began when she was in first grade.

“I'm not a bit surprised she made the majorette line. I expected her to,” Savannah’s first baton twirling coach Carol Sobba said. “I know her. I knew who she was then and she continues to be that person today.”

Jeannie Noel, who later became Savannah’s coach remembered that Savannah was never afraid of the baton.

“That’s the big thing is not being scared of it,” Noel said. “It’s going to hit you and it’s going to hurt a little bit, but keep trying over and over again. That’s what she would do.”

It’s the type of determination helping Savannah break barriers on and off the football field.

“She is the first special ed student in the history of Vilonia Schools to try out and make majorette line for the band,” her mom, Gidget, said.

Savannah has autism and apraxia -- a speech disorder that makes conversation difficult.

While she has enjoyed soccer, basketball, cheer and dance over the years – baton has always been Savannah’s first love.

“I love to twirl; this is fun,” Savannah said.

She has no plans of stopping. With one more year of junior high ahead, Savannah has a goal of learning to twirl two batons as she prepares to try out for majorette at Vilonia High School.

“Just because a child is labeled with a disability doesn't mean they can't do things other kids do. Sometimes they can do more,” Gidget said.