Shaker student breaks down barriers, hopes to inspire others - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Shaker student breaks down barriers, hopes to inspire others


LATHAM, N.Y. --The seniors on Shaker's varsity girls' soccer team played their last game at home on Tuesday night, but it was the halftime recognition of a teammate's perseverance that really stole the show.

The cheer from was crowd was all anyone could hear as number 28, Gianna MacPhee was introduced at the start of the game. With a high five from her coach, she was ready to kick it all off.

"We're going to win," she said.

It's that confidence that helped Gianna break down barriers. Down Syndrome couldn't stop her from achieving her goal to be a part of the soccer team -- she achieved it freshmen year and stayed with the team all throughout high school.

"I like being with my team and I'm a senior," she said.

"Gianna's feisty; she does what she wants to do," said Coach Tara O'keefe.

On Tuesday night her team came together to recognize all the seniors, including Gianna, for their efforts in the last four years. 

"Seeing her work so hard really pushes us to work harder," said Carlie Maxwell.

"Some of the players on the team we get wrapped up in playing time, then we look at Gianna
and it's totally just about being on the team," said Sarah Cheney.

"The milestone for me is the amount of self-confidence it built in her," said Virginia MacPhee, Gianna's mother.

With goal after goal that was kicked, Gianna was there for it all both on the field and from the sidelines, cheering on her team and the girls that never made her feel any different.

Gianna is the first student with special needs to join any team at Shaker. The coach and Gianna say they hope it gives other students and families the inspiration to achieve similar goals.

You can follow Trishna on Facebook and on Twitter. If you would like to contact Trishna, please e-mail her at

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